ESCALATE TO DE-ESCALATE: SPECULATION ON RUSSIAN NUCLEAR STRATEGY

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Authors
Kirbyson, Frank R. III
Subjects
nuclear
Russia
escalate
de-escalate
Advisors
Tsypkin, Mikhail
Date of Issue
2019-09
Date
Publisher
Monterey, CA; Naval Postgraduate School
Language
Abstract
This thesis contributes to the debate regarding the Department of Defense's assessment that the Russian Federation possesses an "escalate to de-escalate" strategy. This research approaches the question through analysis of official doctrine, statements, nuclear capabilities and military exercises of the Russian Federation following the Cold War. The Russian Federation develops weapons for the employment of nonstrategic nuclear weapons and exercises the use of nonstrategic nuclear weapons during major exercises. Its official military doctrine is conducive to an "escalate to de-escalate" strategy. This research concludes that the Russian Federation assigns both an "escalate to de-escalate" and operational role for nonstrategic nuclear weapons. The Department of Defense is correct in its assessment of Russian nuclear strategy and should pursue initiatives that avoid legitimizing the use of nonstrategic nuclear weapons, contribute to strategic miscalculations, or set the conditions for a security dilemma between the United States and the Russian Federation.
Type
Thesis
Description
Series/Report No
Department
National Security Affairs (NSA)
Organization
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NPS Report Number
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Distribution Statement
Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.
Rights
This publication is a work of the U.S. Government as defined in Title 17, United States Code, Section 101. Copyright protection is not available for this work in the United States.
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