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Title: Examination of the role of nuclear deterrence in the 21st century: a systems analysis approach

Abstract

Until very recently, an evaluation of US policy regarding deterrence and the role of its nuclear weapons arsenal as a deterrent has been largely absent in the public debate. With President's Obama embrace of a goal of a future world without nuclear weapons, issues of nuclear policy and deterrence have just recently risen to the forefront of policy discussions. The traditional role of US nuclear weapons-to deter the use of nuclear weapons by other states-endures, but is no longer unique nor even predominant. In an increasingly multi-polar world, the US now faces growing risks of nuclear weapons proliferation; the spread of weapons of mass destruction generally to non-state, substate and transnational actors; cyber, space, economic, environmental and resource threats along with the application of numerous other forms of 'soft power' in ways that are inimical to national security and to global stability. What concept of deterrence should the US seek to maintain in the 21st Century? That question remains fluid and central to the current debate. Recently there has been a renewed focusing of attention on the role of US nuclear weapons and a national discussion about what the underlying policy should be. In this environment, both the United Statesmore » and Russia have committed to drastic reductions in their nuclear arsenals, while still maintaining forces sufficient to ensure unacceptable consequence in response to acts of aggression. Further, the declared nuclear powers have maintained that a limited nuclear arsenal continues to provide insurance against uncertain developments in a changing world. In this environment of US and Russian stockpile reductions, all declared nuclear states have reiterated the central role which nuclear weapons continue to provide for their supreme national security interests. Given this new environment and the challenges of the next several decades, how might the United States structure its policy and forces with regard to nuclear weapons? Many competing objectives have been stated across the spectrum of political, social, and military thought. These objectives include goals of ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, recommitment to further downsizing of the nuclear arsenal, embracing a long-term goal of the elimination of nuclear weapons, limitations on both the production complex and upgrades to nuclear weapons and delivery systems, and controls and constraints to limit proliferation of nuclear materials and weapons, particularly to rogue states and terrorist groups.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [2];  [2];  [2];  [2];  [3]
  1. Los Alamos National Laboratory
  2. SNL
  3. STANFORD UNIV
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1015237
Report Number(s):
LA-UR-10-03518; LA-UR-10-3518
TRN: US201111%%505
DOE Contract Number:  
AC52-06NA25396
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
98; EVALUATION; FOCUSING; INSURANCE; NATIONAL SECURITY; NUCLEAR DETERRENCE; NUCLEAR POWER; NUCLEAR WEAPONS; PRODUCTION; PROLIFERATION; STABILITY; STOCKPILES; SYSTEMS ANALYSIS; WEAPONS

Citation Formats

Martz, Joseph C, Stevens, Patrice A, Branstetter, Linda, Hoover, Edward, O' Brien, Kevin, Slavin, Adam, and Caswell, David. Examination of the role of nuclear deterrence in the 21st century: a systems analysis approach. United States: N. p., 2010. Web.
Martz, Joseph C, Stevens, Patrice A, Branstetter, Linda, Hoover, Edward, O' Brien, Kevin, Slavin, Adam, & Caswell, David. Examination of the role of nuclear deterrence in the 21st century: a systems analysis approach. United States.
Martz, Joseph C, Stevens, Patrice A, Branstetter, Linda, Hoover, Edward, O' Brien, Kevin, Slavin, Adam, and Caswell, David. 2010. "Examination of the role of nuclear deterrence in the 21st century: a systems analysis approach". United States. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1015237.
@article{osti_1015237,
title = {Examination of the role of nuclear deterrence in the 21st century: a systems analysis approach},
author = {Martz, Joseph C and Stevens, Patrice A and Branstetter, Linda and Hoover, Edward and O' Brien, Kevin and Slavin, Adam and Caswell, David},
abstractNote = {Until very recently, an evaluation of US policy regarding deterrence and the role of its nuclear weapons arsenal as a deterrent has been largely absent in the public debate. With President's Obama embrace of a goal of a future world without nuclear weapons, issues of nuclear policy and deterrence have just recently risen to the forefront of policy discussions. The traditional role of US nuclear weapons-to deter the use of nuclear weapons by other states-endures, but is no longer unique nor even predominant. In an increasingly multi-polar world, the US now faces growing risks of nuclear weapons proliferation; the spread of weapons of mass destruction generally to non-state, substate and transnational actors; cyber, space, economic, environmental and resource threats along with the application of numerous other forms of 'soft power' in ways that are inimical to national security and to global stability. What concept of deterrence should the US seek to maintain in the 21st Century? That question remains fluid and central to the current debate. Recently there has been a renewed focusing of attention on the role of US nuclear weapons and a national discussion about what the underlying policy should be. In this environment, both the United States and Russia have committed to drastic reductions in their nuclear arsenals, while still maintaining forces sufficient to ensure unacceptable consequence in response to acts of aggression. Further, the declared nuclear powers have maintained that a limited nuclear arsenal continues to provide insurance against uncertain developments in a changing world. In this environment of US and Russian stockpile reductions, all declared nuclear states have reiterated the central role which nuclear weapons continue to provide for their supreme national security interests. Given this new environment and the challenges of the next several decades, how might the United States structure its policy and forces with regard to nuclear weapons? Many competing objectives have been stated across the spectrum of political, social, and military thought. These objectives include goals of ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, recommitment to further downsizing of the nuclear arsenal, embracing a long-term goal of the elimination of nuclear weapons, limitations on both the production complex and upgrades to nuclear weapons and delivery systems, and controls and constraints to limit proliferation of nuclear materials and weapons, particularly to rogue states and terrorist groups.},
doi = {},
url = {https://www.osti.gov/biblio/1015237}, journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2010},
month = {1}
}