U.S. strategic nuclear policy and force structure : three analytical approaches
Wagner, Russell H.
Yost, David S.
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Since the end of the Cold War, the United States and Russia have made significant strides in reducing their nuclear arsenals. While the current political climate is significantly less tense than during the Cold War era, Russia is still the only country capable of destroying the United States. This thesis examines the current requirements shaping U.S. nuclear strategy, policy, and force structure in the three leading U.S. schools of thought (de-alerting, bilateral negotiations, and national missile defense). Additionally, the thesis evaluates the implications for the U.S. nuclear posture in the policy recommendations advanced by these schools. Each school proposes distinct solutions regarding strategic force structure based on its interpretation of the requirements at hand. The thesis concludes that de-alerting, theater and national ballistic missile defense, and bilateral negotiations schools of thought will continue to influence, both short-term and long-term, U.S. nuclear policy and force structure.
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