Report - Peace Studies Program, Cornell University

Crisis Stability and Nuclear War

  • Desmond Ball
  • Hans A. Bethe
  • Dr. Bruce G. Blair
  • Dr. Paul Bracken
  • Hillman Dickinson
  • Kurt Gottfried
  • David Holloway
  • Henry Kendall
  • Lloyd Leavitt, Jr.
  • Richard Ned Debow
  • Condoleezza Rice
  • Lucja Swiatkowski
  • Paul Tomb
| January 1987

This report examines the development of today's complex "command and control" systems. The authors examine the mounting strains that would be placed on this system as a confrontation intensified to the point where the command system itself was under attack. To portray the dramatic transformation brought about by the introduction of nuclear weapons and other post-1945 technical developments, they trace the evolution of command systems from Napoleon to the present day. The report also analyzes the major post-Hiroshima crises and the military and intelligence operations the superpowers are likely to mount in future crises, as well as a hypothetical Mid-East crisis scenario illustrating the dangers of nuclear proliferation.

In conclusion, the report projects the impact on crisis stability of new and forthcoming technologies, such as cruise missiles and anti-satellite weapons, and propose specific policy recommendations on which the U.S. government can act, both alone and in conjunction with the Soviet Union.

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Carter, Ashton, Desmond Ball, Hans Bethe, Bruce Blair, Paul Bracken, Hillman Dickinson, Richard Garwin, Kurt Gottfried, David Holloway, Henry Kendall, Lloyd Leavitt, Jr., Richard Ned Debow, Condoleezza Rice, Peter Stein, John Steinbruner, Lucja Swiatkowsk. “Crisis Stability and Nuclear War.” Peace Studies Program, Cornell University, January 1987.

The Authors

Ash Carter