Dangers of a Nuclear No First Use Policy   [open pdf - 232KB]

From the Document: "In the many decades that U.S. nuclear forces have deterred adversaries and assured allies and partners, the U.S. has never adopted a policy declaring it would not use nuclear weapons first in a conflict. Today, the U.S. continues its longstanding policy of retaining some degree of ambiguity regarding the precise circumstances that might lead to a U.S. nuclear response. [...] Advocates argue that a U.S. no first use policy would reduce the risk of nuclear war. However, adoption of such a policy could increase the likelihood of devastating conflict, including one that escalates to nuclear war, by incentivizing non-nuclear strategic attack on, and coercion of, the U.S. or our allies and partners. Such a policy may change how adversaries and allies view the credibility of the U.S. nuclear deterrent and our resolve to use it when our vital interests are threatened. Operational scenarios exist in which the U.S. would consider first use."

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