Nuclear Issues

470 Items

A nuclear advanced designated marksman assists in a launch facility exercise.

Beau Wade, 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs

Paper - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

A Sense of Purpose: The Bedrock of the U.S. Nuclear Deterrent

| June 2020

"The paradox of war is, the adversary will always move against your perceived weakness.  So a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent is there to ensure a war that can never be won, is never fought." Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis went on to say, "I am absolutely convinced that having this safe, secure, and effective deterrent is critical—the most critical piece of our nation's defense."  “At the end of the day, deterrence comes down to the men and women in uniform.” The question this paper addresses is: how do we motivate Airmen to give their best to perform this unsung duty, day after day, for years at a time?

 

Security Line at an Airport

ahlynk/Flickr

Analysis & Opinions - The Atlantic

The Recurring Folly of ‘If You See Something, Say Something’

| Jan. 06, 2020

Bill de Blasio warned New Yorkers on Friday that their city might be subject to retaliatory attacks from Iran. “I’m not saying this to be alarmist,” the mayor said as he and his underlings ticked off—in a slightly alarming fashion—a series of defensive measures the city might take after the American air strike that killed the Iranian general Qassem Soleimani. Though the New York Police Department had received no specific, credible threats, de Blasio and other officials warned of more bag checks at the subways and increased police presence throughout the city. The city is no stranger to terrorism and would maintain a better-safe-than-sorry posture. “If you see something, say something,” de Blasio said.

Recent talk of homeland threats, and the just-in-case operational response, are based on nothing more than the rather uncontroversial assessment that Iran will feel obliged to do something to respond to the killing of Soleimani. The homeland-security practices to which Americans became accustomed after 9/11 long ago became a bad habit—one more divorced than ever before from the kinds of threats the United States might actually face. Intended to calm the public, gestures like the ones de Blasio described presume that Iran would be both reckless and capable enough to target an American city—and that greater vigilance alone would prepare us for that possibility. Now nearly two decades old, the post-9/11 style of security theater also risks masking the real vulnerabilities in the American homeland against a potential Iranian action.

Chinese military vehicles in parade.

(AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

Dangerous Confidence? Chinese Views on Nuclear Escalation

    Authors:
  • Fiona S. Cunningham
  • M. Taylor Fravel
| Fall 2019

China and the United States hold opposing beliefs about whether nuclear war can be avoided in a potential crisis or armed conflict. Taken together, these opposing beliefs increase the risk of nuclear escalation and can lead to greater crisis instability.

The Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei converses with a group of Revolutionary Guards and their families, Tehran, Iran, April 9, 2019.

AP

Analysis & Opinions - The Washington Post

Trump's Iran Sanctions Could Backfire

| Apr. 09, 2019

What does President Trump hope to accomplish with his policies towards Iran? And will he get what he wants by imposing ever-greater pressure on its regime? At this point, David Ignatius argues, it doesn't necessarily matter. Whether or not the sanctions against Iran are successful, the President's excessive focus on Iran may cost America its hard-won success elsewhere.

U.S. President Donald Trump Speaks During a Press Conference in Hanoi, Vietnam, on February 28, 2019.

Associated Press

Analysis & Opinions - The Washington Post

Trump’s Comments on Otto Warmbier are a Reminder He Doesn’t Prioritize Human Rights

| Feb. 28, 2019

The Trump administration has never shown much interest in human rights. Last year, it pulled the United States out of the U.N. Human Rights Council. In 2017, within months of President Trump’s inauguration, then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said diplomats should not let human rights values become “obstacles” to achieving national goals. Trump has spoken favorably about some of the world’s most vicious dictators.

Image of China’s People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force drill with a ballistic missile launcher

(China Military / 81.cn)

Policy Brief - Quarterly Journal: International Security

Inadvertent Escalation and the Entanglement of Nuclear Command-and-Control Capabilities

    Author:
  • James Acton
| Oct. 29, 2018

The risks of nuclear escalation between the U.S. and China or Russia are greater than ever given the possibility of misinterpreted cyber espionage and military strikes against early warning systems. What can be done to reduce this risk?

From left to right: Ambassador Nicholas Burns, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Ms. Susan Thornton

Harvard Kennedy School

Speech - Harvard Kennedy School

Negotiating for Peace and Security on the Korean Peninsula

| Oct. 22, 2018

Former UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon (MPP ‘85) and former Acting Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Susan Thornton, will discuss the negotiations for peace and security on the Korean Peninsula. This forum event will be moderated by Ambassador Nicholas Burns, Roy and Barbara Goodman Family Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Relations and Faculty Chair of the Future of Diplomacy Project.

The Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Pennsylvania transits the Hood Canal in Washington.

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Amanda R. Gray

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

Escalation through Entanglement: How the Vulnerability of Command-and-Control Systems Raises the Risks of an Inadvertent Nuclear War

    Author:
  • James Acton
| Summer 2018

The risks of nuclear escalation are greater than ever given the possibility of misinterpreted cyber espionage and military strikes against early warning systems.