The Real Requirements of Deterrence


With Trump’s tweet, suddenly the conversation on nuclear deterrence and arms has started again. Today’s needull discusses deterrence.

One gets to thousands of nuclear weapons by subscribing to requirements for extreme redundancy—not just a nuclear triad of bombers, submarines, and land-based missiles, but also air- and sea-launched cruise missiles to accompany them. Some missiles and all bombers carry more than one warhead. Massive targeting lists are needed to make sense of large numbers of warheads. Add to this the requirement to launch within minutes of learning about a nuclear attack. Add also short-range, “tactical” nuclear weapons. Then add the option of using nuclear weapons first as well as in retaliation.

The complete article

Michael Krepon — Foreign Affairs

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