The overarching question imparting urgency to this exploration is: Can U.S.-Russian contention in cyberspace cause the two nuclear superpowers to stumble into war? In considering this question we were constantly reminded of recent comments by a prominent U.S. arms control expert: At least as dangerous as the risk of an actual cyberattack, he observed, is cyber operations’ “blurring of the line between peace and war.” Or, as Nye wrote, “in the cyber realm, the difference between a weapon and a non-weapon may come down to a single line of code, or simply the intent of a computer program’s user.”
This seminar will analyze Pakistan's existing and projected nuclear fuel cycle capabilities and their effect on the country’s nuclear posture. Pakistan has been producing HEU since the mid-1980s and following the commissioning of the first production reactor in 1998, the country has expanded its plutonium production and reprocessing capabilities to meet the needs of a credible deterrent, comprising twelve types of ballistic and cruise missiles—which now form a strategic triad. While these capabilities have been progressively built over four decades and are modest in comparison to emerging capabilities in the region, Pakistan is viewed as having the world’s fastest growing nuclear arsenal. Resource constraints and the requirements of maintaining a credible conventional deterrence, coupled with the evolving threat spectrum will determine the future direction and scope of its strategic force posture.
Mansoor Ahmed writes and comments on various aspects of Pakistan's nuclear program, policy, and posture and strategic stability dynamics in South Asia. His current research examines the impact of bureaucratic-politics and myth making on nuclear decision-making in Pakistan. Prior to joining the Belfer Center, he served as a Lecturer in the Department of Defense and Strategic Studies, Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU), Islamabad, and was a Visiting Research Scholar at the Sandia National Laboratories. He holds a Ph.D. in International Relations from QAU.