Limited Nuclear Conflict and Escalation Control
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Project Summary: This project examined limited nuclear conflict and escalation control in the policies of Russia and NATO. Russia has repeatedly reformulated its military doctrine in conjunction with ambitious nuclear force modernization and the pursuit of advanced non-nuclear capabilities. While the 29 NATO Allies have agreed policies regarding nuclear deterrence, ultimate control over nuclear weapons in the Alliance resides with Britain, France, and the United States. Since the year 2000, three iterations of the Russian military doctrine have contained clauses permitting Russia to use nuclear arms against an enemy that might, using conventional capabilities alone, put the Russian state at the verge of collapse. The Russian plans for nuclear first use have focused on using non- strategic nuclear weapons (NSNW) for escalation: beginning with threats, then moving on to single demonstration strikes, and gradually up to massive attacks against enemy forces in the theater of military operations. The NATO Allies have for many years expressed interest in escalation control and restoring deterrence in the event of conflict, notably in the 1967 MC 14/3 "flexible response" strategy. After the end of the Cold War in 1989-1991 the Allies neglected escalation control. However, Russia's actions, notably in Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine in 2014, have led the Allies to reconsider the challenges of escalation control.
NPS NRP Executive Summary
RightsThis 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.
NPS Report NumberNPS-18-N251-A
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