Report - Center for a New American Security

CNAS Releases New Report: “Navigating Dangerous Pathways: A Pragmatic Approach to U.S.-Russian Relations and Strategic Stability”

| Jan. 30, 2018

Washington, D.C., January 30, 2018 – A new study from the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) examines the challenges to strategic stability between the United States and Russia and proposes a series of recommendations for navigating the dangers ahead.

In “Navigating Dangerous Pathways: A Pragmatic Approach to U.S.-Russian Relations and Strategic Stability,” James N. Miller and Richard Fontaine examine three interrelated pathways to crisis or conflict: (1) a deterioration in the future course of U.S.-Russian relations; (2) potential slippery slopes from peacetime to crisis and conflict; and (3) the possibility that conflict could escalate to attacks against each other’s homeland and even nuclear war.  The report offers concrete recommendations for managing each of the three pathways.

The report’s authors are James N. Miller, President of Adaptive Strategies LLC, and a Senior Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center, and Richard Fontaine, President of the Center for a New American Security.

The report’s policy recommendations include:

To shape U.S.-Russian political relations in a way that safeguards American interests while minimizing the risks of confrontation, the United States should:

·        Articulate and implement a campaign plan approach to Russia, in close coordination with its NATO allies.

·        Sustain biting but conditional sanctions on Russia.

·        Respond with military deployments, including a new nuclear-tipped sea-launched cruise missile, to Russia’s Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty violations.

·        Aim to build positive cooperation with Russia in areas of mutual interest.

To prevent or slow military escalation in cyberspace and outer space, the United States should:

·        Invest more heavily in understanding the escalatory dynamics of future great-power crisis and conflict.

·        Define its desired rules of the road for cyberspace and outer space – not only in peacetime, but also in crisis and conflict – and, where feasible, attempt to reach a common view with Russia.

·        Prioritize enhanced cyber and space resilience for critical military capabilities.

·        Improve the cyber resilience of its most essential critical infrastructure.

·        Reopen diplomatic and military lines of communication with Russia.

To sustain U.S.-Russian strategic stability, the United States should:

·        Reaffirm mutual vulnerability (i.e. “mutually assured destruction”) as the only viable basis for strategic stability vis-à-vis Russia.

·        Adopt a “triad-plus” strategic force structure, including a mobile ICBM development and demonstration program.

·        Develop and deploy air- and sea-based medium (not global) range non-nuclear hypersonic weapons.

·        Address vulnerabilities in nuclear command and control systems and continue to shift away from launch-under-attack postures.

·        Improve its missile defense architecture in response to North Korea, but forswear space-based missile defense interceptors or lasers and urge Russia to do the same.

For more information on this publication: Please contact the Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Miller, James and Richard Fontaine. “CNAS Releases New Report: “Navigating Dangerous Pathways: A Pragmatic Approach to U.S.-Russian Relations and Strategic Stability”.” Center for a New American Security, January 30, 2018.

The Authors