Paper

Safe, Secure and Effective Nuclear Operations in the Nuclear Zero Era

| April 2012

Abstract

Nuclear weapons have provided the foundation for international diplomacy and strategic stability for over six decades now. Their often misunderstood mission and strategic value rests in the ability to prevent, not win, major wars. This ability to deter is produced through understood capability and believable will, and ultimately rests on nuclear credibility. However, the central dilemma surrounding these weapons has always been that they provide America with both security and her only existential threat. For this reason many have tried, and thus far failed, to rid the world of nuclear weapons. The latest abolition movement, championed by former high-ranking government officials and prominent business leaders, gained momentum when President Obama declared his nuclear agenda during a 2009 speech in Prague. But his vision for a world free of nuclear weapons also came with a promise to ensure America's nuclear credibility well into the future. Often labeled a no-fail mission, producing deterrence is demanding, disciplined work with inherent risk. The addition of abolition rhetoric adds unnecessary risk in the form of mission relevance and the erosion of expertise and much needed resources for sustainment and modernization. Without significant change in the geopolitical landscape, nuclear weapons will remain a relevant portion of America's long-term national security strategy. Therefore, the burdens and responsibilities of maintaining an effective nuclear deterrent force are paramount to ensure credibility for America and her allies. Bottom line: nuclear weapons and nuclear deterrence are still relevant today and for the foreseeable future. Therefore, to maintian international strategic stability we must embrace the necessity of nuclear deterrence, develop strategic policy that supports deterrence as an essential element and adequately resource the enterprise.

For more information on this publication: Please contact International Security
For Academic Citation: Allen, Ronald G. Jr.. “Safe, Secure and Effective Nuclear Operations in the Nuclear Zero Era.” Paper, April 2012.

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