Deterrence and Defense in “The Second Nuclear Age” (Northrop Grumman)


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Northrop Grumman: Deterrence and Defense in “The Second Nuclear Age” - BY ROBERT P. HAFFA, JR. - RAVI R . HICHKAD - DANA J. JOHNSON - PHILIP W. PRATT

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a n a ly s i s center papers march 2009 deterrence and defense in the second nuclear age by robert p haffa jr r avi r hichkad dana j johnson philip w pratt


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a n a ly s i s center papers contents executive summary 1 introduction deterrence and defense 3 defining the second nuclear age 5 the structure of the second nuclear age 5 actors and capabilities in the second nuclear age 7 the second nuclear age looking forward 11 deterrence in the second nuclear age 12 nuclear arms control constraining u.s and russian nuclear forces 12 nuclear posture reviews u.s nuclear weapons policy 13 tailored deterrence for the second nuclear age 14 tailoring deterrence for the second nuclear age modern nuclear states 14 tailoring deterrence for the second nuclear age rogue states nuclear aspirants and non-state actors 17 defense in the second nuclear age 22 missile defense in the first nuclear age 22 tailoring ballistic missile defenses for the second nuclear age 24 missile defense in the second nuclear age how much is enough 27 synchronizing deterrence and defense in the second nuclear age 31 previous efforts 31 operational synchronization 33 achieving operational synchronization 33 operational synchronization an illustrative scenario 34 conclusion deterrence and defense in the second nuclear age 39 about the authors 41 deterrence and defense in the second nuclear age


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a n a ly s i s center papers deterrence and defense in the second nuclear age


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a n a ly s i s center papers executive summary the united states the other sovereign members of the nuclear club and a number of would-be proliferators have now entered what has been described as the second nuclear age this paper examines the deterrence and defense requirements presented by this new age arguing for the value to be gained through their integration offense-defense integration will provide to national decision-makers timely and informed choices of security options needed to address the spectrum of conflict likely to unfold within the second nuclear age the second nuclear age has some similarities with the first but also exhibits marked contrasts the security environment has transitioned from the first nuclear age a bipolar longterm competition between two technologically sophisticated states and their allies to one of multi-polarity with emerging threats unstable actors and varied inventories of nuclear weapons and delivery means in addition to the post-cold war nuclear capabilities of russia and china new challenges are emerging from rogue states fractured nuclear states nuclear aspirants and non-state actors to deal with the uncertain environment and range of actors characteristic of the second nuclear age the united states must revisit its policies and force structure underwriting the missions of deterrence and defense the 2006 quadrennial defense review qdr outlined a tailored deterrence strategy this concept is built on the understanding that owing to the range of actors present in the second nuclear age cold war deterrent theories strategies and forces alone will not effectively address the new security environment tailoring nuclear deterrence for the future will require a careful mix of the strategies and forces proven in the first nuclear age coupled with new policies and capabilities to meet the emerging threats from new nuclear actors these will include modernization of the traditional nuclear triad of intercontinental ballistic missiles icbms submarine-launched ballistic missiles slbms and bomber forces to enhance their deterrent capability and credibility the first nuclear age stressed the value of deterrence over defense u.s policy choices specifically rejected anti-ballistic missile systems to enable the stability engendered by the bipolar balance popularly characterized as mutually assured destruction however the new actors in the second nuclear age give little indication they will be similarly deterred therefore the second nuclear age demands the development and deployment of layered missile defenses 1 deterrence and defense in the second nuclear age


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a n a ly s i s center papers capable of meeting a wide range of threats and a strategy leveraging their capabilities this system will require persistent awareness global warning tracking and handoff and mobile flexible rapidly deployable missile defenses capable of intercepting inbound warheads in their boost ascent mid-course and terminal phases of flight critical to these new capabilities and central to our argument is a strategy to integrate and synchronize deterrent and defensive systems to meet future threats thereby providing a broad range of flexible integrated and time-sensitive options for u.s decision-makers offense-defense integration unifies and synchronizes the operational elements intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance isr command and control layered missile defense and a range of offensive capabilities to strengthen deterrence and defense across a spectrum of plausible contingencies fashioning a strategy that unifies and synchronizes the offensive and defensive elements of our military capabilities to provide a range of options is imperative to meet the challenges of the second nuclear age important steps toward this goal include · the u.s department of defense should use the opportunity of the pending qdr and nuclear posture review npr to sustain and strengthen the overall credibility and capability of the traditional nuclear triad · new investments should be directed toward increased awareness and understanding of emerging threats coupled with a prompt global strike capability to hold those threats at risk a conventional intercontinental ballistic missile either sea or land-based and a next-generation bomber are deterrent capabilities that should be called for in the next qdr and npr and funded for fielding a decade from now · a layered system of global rapidly deployable sea land air and space-based capabilities to defend against ballistic missiles in all phases of flight should be high on the list of the nation s defense priorities · a distributed automated real-time collaborative planning capability that is multi-dimensional vertical through the strategic-operational-theater command structure and horizontal among geographic combatant commanders and joint force commanders and multi-mission encompassing all missions from isr to missile defense and offensive options needs to be implemented to support the operational synchronization of deterrence and defense · sustained support for operational planning and exercise activities conducted by the combatant commands and the service components is required to implement operational synchronization and to familiarize key decision-makers with its capabilities this paper examines policies and programs needed to underwrite new approaches to combining deterrence and defense across the spectrum of conflict in the second nuclear age planning towards the operational synchronization of offensive and defensive forces will provide for a future in which national decision-makers are given a range of options to deter an enemy from striking u.s or allied interests or to defend in stages if deterrence fails the second nuclear age demands a military strategy integrating the policies practices and capabilities of deterrence and defense 2 deterrence and defense in the second nuclear age


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a n a ly s i s center papers deterrence and defense in the second nuclear age introduction deterrence and defense in his 1983 book titled the nuclear future michael mandelbaum posited that the nuclear future would be much like the past.1 the reason that the nuclear future would follow a middle path he argued was that the alternatives disarmament and war were either too difficult to achieve or too terrible to risk this belief formed the basis of american defense policy and nuclear strategy during the cold war the delicate balance of terror existing between the two nuclear superpowers could be made less so through strategies designed to deter and forces fielded to enhance stability a credible nuclear triad of strategic bombers intercontinental ballistic missiles icbms and ballistic-missile launching submarines ssbns was seen as a guarantor of deterrence and stability considerable investment was dedicated to that triad of forces throughout the cold war to ensure there could be no single point of failure there was not such a failure and despite the fears of fred ikle and others nuclear deterrence managed to last through the 20th century.2 it survived it seems owing to a condition termed mutual assured destruction mad in which the shared vulnerability of the two nuclear superpowers created a sense of stability the cold war nuclear arsenals of the former soviet union and the united states were so conservatively planned and technically redundant that neither state could completely destroy the other s retaliatory force by launching first even in the worst no-warning case a bolt from the blue the result of such a non-splendid first strike 1 2 3 4 5 6 promised in the worst case to be the destruction of the aggressor s population and industry after a counter-value response the primacy of deterrence currently defined by joint publication 1-023 as the prevention from action by fear of the consequences over defense during the first nuclear age goes back to the earliest days of the cold war and deliberations over strategic containment of the soviet union within the truman and eisenhower administrations within the kennedy administration the mcnamara pentagon calculated the contribution of strategic offensive and defensive forces toward reaching the objectives of assured destruction and damagelimitation 4 secretary mcnamara s inclination toward a strategy of assured destruction was initially strengthened by a 1964 report authored by air force lieutenant general glenn kent concluding that a damage-limiting strategy mixing missile and civil defenses was far from cost-effective the economic advantage remained decidedly with the offense.5 as the missile defense debate continued through the 1960s additional studies by the defense secretary s systems analysis office added weight to kent s earlier thesis arguing the soviets could easily offset the effect of any plausible attempt to defend the u.s from icbm attack mcnamara s decision against deploying the nike-x system designed to defend the u.s solidified the dominance of deterrence over defense that was to last throughout the first nuclear age.6 michael mandelbaum the nuclear future ithaca cornell university press 1983 see fred iklé can nuclear deterrence outlast the century foreign affairs january 1973 joint publication 1-02 department of defense dictionary of military and associated terms u.s department of defense 2008 http alain enthoven and k wayne smith how much is enough new york harper 1971 p 176 damage-limiting forces included both offensive strikes and defensive systems see fred kaplan the wizards of armageddon new york simon and schuster 1983 pp 320-25 enthoven and smith op.cit pp 188-194 subsequent programs to defend icbm sites received greater support and the abm treaty allowed 200 abms in two sites for both sides however the u.s eventually fielded only one site and soon dismantled it 3 deterrence and defense in the second nuclear age


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a n a ly s i s center papers the united states the other sovereign members of the nuclear club and a number of would-be proliferators have now entered what has been described as the second nuclear age.7 as we look to the nuclear future in this new age can we remain as confident as mandelbaum was that the world will not stray from a middle path between disarmament and nuclear weapons use and should we remain as fixed in our beliefs and policy prescriptions regarding a policy choice between deterrence and defense in a classic cold war bifurcation of what he termed the two central concepts of general war strategy glenn snyder warned that debates on national security policy were often inconclusive because participants argued from different perspectives those of deterrence or defense for snyder those differing premises were striking · deterrence works on the enemy s intentions while defense reduces his capabilities · deterrence is by definition a peacetime objective while defense is a wartime value · nuclear weapons are designed and deployed to deter conventional weapons are planned for defense despite describing the differences between deterrence and defense in the first nuclear age snyder was prescient in anticipating the needs of the second thus he argued we must find some way of combining their value on both yardsticks in order accurately to gauge their aggregate worth or `utility and to make intelligent choices among the various types of forces available 8 in examining the second nuclear age from a policy perspective this paper argues that a prudent road towards enhanced deterrence and defense in the future begins by appreciating the necessity of integrating their value to enable timely and informed choices of national security options available along a spectrum of conflict populated by actors and threats very different from those of the first nuclear age 7 8 see fred iklé the second coming of the nuclear age foreign affairs january/february 1996 colin s gray the second nuclear age boulder lynne rienner 1999 keith b payne deterrence in the second nuclear age lexington university of kentucky 1996 paul bracken the second nuclear age foreign affairs january/february 2000 and the discussion in the following section glenn h snyder deterrence and defense a theoretical introduction in head and rokke eds american defense policy third edition baltimore johns hopkins press 1973 p 100 4 deterrence and defense in the second nuclear age


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a n a ly s i s center papers defining the second nuclear age defining the second nuclear age provides a foundation for examining the roles of nuclear deterrence and defense within the post-cold war world.9 during the first nuclear age cold war nuclear strategy was driven by clearly stated intentions and demonstrated capabilities of the two principals to ensure a bipolar nuclear balance of power the second nuclear age features new actors whose possession of nuclear weapons capability is likely to lead to a destabilized international security environment · a bipolar long-term competition between two technologically sophisticated states and their allies · large inventories of strategic nuclear weapons · sophisticated command control and communications systems · multiple phenomenological approaches to ensure accurate and timely strategic and tactical warning · continuing communications through arms control negotiations · crisis management procedures and mechanisms to avoid or contain accidental launches or weapons system testing · relative transparency of fielded forces through arms control counting rules · open discussions of nuclear doctrine and declared policy · escalation restraint · mutual rationality postulating that neither side would ultimately risk the destructive consequences of nuclear war the structure of the second nuclear age understanding the structure of the second nuclear age may best begin by comparing it to the first at its core the first nuclear age was a contest of strategy between the soviets the americans and their respective cold war allies cold war allies that confrontation was was confrontation bipolar in structure featurstructure featuring nation-states with allenation-states with allegiances or ties to one side of the ideological divide or the other nuclear weapons and their delivery systems were delivery systems were developed acquired comacquired commanded and controlled manded and controlled with the goal of maintaining the goal of maintainstable andand credible levels ing stable credible levels of mutual deterrence we can of mutual deterrence we summarize the first nuclear can summarize the first age as being as being characnuclear age characterized by terized by 9 the second nuclear age features new actors whose possession of nuclear weapons capability is likely to lead to a destabilized international security environment the stand-out feature of the second nuclear age is that the competition is no longer confined to two principal players its actors extensive and growing in both number and nature add a level of complexity and volatility to today s on the role of nuclear weapons see george schultz bill perry henry kissinger and sam nunn a world free of nuclear weapons wall street journal january 4 2007 p a15 see also the response to that position by harold brown and john deutch the nuclear disarmament fantasy wall street journal november 19 2007 p a19 interim report of the congressional commission on the strategic posture of the united states of december 15 2008 and the findings of the csis beyond goldwaternichols report the department of defense and the nuclear mission in the 21st century march 2008 authored by clark murdock we find ourselves in agreement with those authors that the united states will have nuclear weapons for the foreseeable future 5 deterrence and defense in the second nuclear age


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a n a ly s i s center papers security environment making it increasingly difficult to assess the role of nuclear weapons and their implications for policy.10 additionally the rational actor model on which deterrence rested has been brought into question a number of nations some of which could be described as having rogue leadership at the helm have either acquired nuclear weapons or demonstrated an interest in pursuing the capabilities needed to develop them in addition to these countries the rise of transnational actors suggests there are terrorist organizations some state-supported and some not actively seeking nuclear weapons not for deterrence but for use as weapons of mass terror andrew marshall the pentagon s long-time director of the office of net assessment has cited the utility of thinking historically within a timeline that represents the level of available technology from antiquity to today about the number of people ten determined individuals can kill before being killed themselves.11 given proliferation trends linked to global terrorism that number is higher today than at any other point in history some of the actors in the second nuclear age benefit from what some have called a free-ride to nuclear know-how 12 much of the technological underpinnings strategic thinking and planning of nuclear forces are open to actors no longer required to undertake difficult and expensive research and development this free-ride enables actors of the second nuclear age to estimate whether the benefits of pursuing or expanding a nuclear weapons capability outweigh the risks the consequences of this latent proliferation are several first any actor with modest technical and economic resources has the potential to exercise the option of going nuclear or in some cases to grow existing nuclear capabilities although many actors protected by the u.s nuclear umbrella have chosen not to or have disbanded ongoing developmental efforts second identifying opportunities and actions to dissuade those actors from going nuclear have met considerable 10 11 challenges finally it will likely fall to the united states and its closest allies to offset or counter these nuclear choices acquiring a nuclear weapons capability in the second nuclear age as it was in the first is seen as a symbol of prestige and power ­ it puts one front and center on the world map this is particularly true among aspiring new powers their perceived status within the international community might rise through nuclear empowerment however nuclear empowerment can be a two-edged sword the level of investment put forth by an impoverished state or non-state actor to indigenously develop steal or buy nuclear weapons capabilities may be disproportionate when compared to their economic strength and political clout to illustrate the late zulfikar ali bhutto then foreign minister and later prime minister of pakistan said of obtaining the atomic bomb we will eat grass or leaves even go hungry but we will get one of our own 13 given such sentiments the costs associated with developing or acquiring nuclear weapons may easily displace the prudent planning and resources needed to manage them once they are in hand therefore the extensive command and control infrastructure contributing to reliability and stability among players in the first nuclear age may not apply in the second in times of crisis a new member of the nuclear club lacking a strong command authority might too easily reach for a nuclear weapon lastly a nation s investment in nuclear weapons capabilities may also come at the expense and marginalization of its conventional capabilities as a result the second nuclear age has the makings of creating players with second-rate armies and navies relying primarily on a nuclear-based military strategy during times of crisis this may create a situation of escalating tensions dangerous unpredictability and limited response options although motives for acquiring nuclear weapons in the second nuclear age may not differ widely from 12 13 see paul bracken the structure of the second nuclear age orbis summer 2003 pp 399-413 marshall speaks in reference to the work of yale economist martin shubik see for example douglas mcgray the marshall plan wired february 2003 the recent tragic mumbai terrorist attacks provide a baseline for assaults using conventional weapons paul bracken the structure of the second nuclear age foreign policy research institute e-note september 25 2003 http from a 1965 speech to pakistan s national assembly 6 deterrence and defense in the second nuclear age


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a n a ly s i s center papers those of the first what does vary is the evolving complexity of how national interest in pursuing a nuclear capability translates to national security.14 in the case of nation-states a country s pursuit of nuclear weapons rests on the belief that its security will be enhanced on the other hand the notion of national security as a basis for acquisition among non-state terrorist networks has little meaning their motives are likely to be organizational image and pursuit of a radical agenda rooted in a willingness to inflict as much destruction as possible to achieve their objectives.15 thus in the second nuclear age the traditional security dilemma of international politics takes on a troubling dimension rather than threatening another nation s security by enhancing one s own a non-state actor seeks nuclear weapons solely to threaten the security of others.16 the characteristics of the second nuclear age in contrast to the first can be summarized as · a multi-polar security environment involving nearterm and emerging threats and unstable regimes · varied inventories of nuclear arsenals ranging from emerging capability to sophisticated threats · collaboration among state and non-state actors on proliferating nuclear technologies and weapon capabilities · weak or non-existent nuclear command control and communications systems · limited communications channels among would-be adversaries · little protection against accidental/rogue launch · uncertain capabilities and intentions among many nuclear actors · questionable doctrine well removed from traditional deterrence 14 · escalation and first-use as plausible options · the presence of non-deterrable actors · domestic pressures to acquire nuclear weapons outweigh external pressures to discontinue nuclear weapon proliferation actors and capabilities in the second nuclear age the previous section offered a general overview of the second nuclear age but this age s developments are best examined in greater detail through an assessment of key players today s nuclear weapons activities involve both state and non-state actors some are responsible powers and others are not it is the combination of these governments and entities and the challenges they present that defines the second nuclear age and that dictates policy and force planning implications for u.s deterrence and defense.17 the modern nuclear state the threat posed by a modern peer or near-peer are other terms frequently used nuclear state is most reflective of what the u.s faced in the first nuclear age and it continues to be one that cannot be ignored in the second this case is represented by russia and china russia at times looks strikingly reminiscent of the former soviet union.18 it rarely sees eye-to-eye with the u.s on security issues real democratic activity and open media are scarce and it interferes in the domestic and foreign affairs of neighboring former soviet republics by exploiting their dependence on russian energy resources.19 these trends have been labeled in different ways but the notion of russian revanchism may not be far off the mark.20 moscow appears bent on reclaiming its 15 16 17 18 19 20 an excellent analysis of this subject may be found in scott d sagan why do states build nuclear weapons three models in search of a bomb international security vol 21 no 3 winter 1996-1997 pp 54-86 furthermore examining the instances of states that have pursued a nuclear capability but have subsequently chosen to defer or stop their pursuit may offer insights for deterrence and defense as well as for counter-proliferation efforts strategies of nuclear reversal and nuclear hedging are addressed in ariel e levite never say never again nuclear reversal revisited international security vol 27 no 3 winter 2002/03 pp 59-88 harold brown new nuclear realities the washington quarterly winter 2007-8 pp 10-11 unless the non-state actor is interested in increasing its own power at the expense of other non-state actors e.g al-qaeda by becoming the leading islamic terrorist organization to which other terrorist organizations swear allegiance it is not necessary to forecast rapid proliferation of nuclear weapons capabilities to define the second nuclear age the current actors possessing a range of capabilities and intentions do that quite well for a good review of contemporary social science research on nuclear proliferation dynamics see william c potter and gaukhar mukhatzhanova divining nuclear intentions international security summer 2008 pp 139 169 certainly the comparison has been drawn recently given russian military moves into the georgian provinces of south ossetia and abkhazia see russia pledging to leave georgia tightens its grip the new york times august 18 2008 p a1 and stephen sestanovich what has moscow done foreign affairs november/december 2008 pp 12-28 steven woehrel russian energy policy toward neighboring countries crs report for congress rl34261 updated march 27 2008 pp 7-13 see for example richard a clarke while you were at war the washington post december 31 2006 b01 and paul reynolds new russian world order the five principles bbc news september 1 2008 at http 2/hi/europe/7591610.stm 7 deterrence and defense in the second nuclear age


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a n a ly s i s center papers strategic dominance and geopolitical influence lost following the end of the cold war in contrast to the united states policy of decreasing its reliance on nuclear forces russia is expanding its nuclear weapons capability deploying more road-mobile and silo-based icbms fielding both a new class of ballistic missile submarine and associated slbm forces and pursuing a new long-range bomber.21 former president and current prime minister of russia vladimir putin has also stressed that work to field entirely new land-based systems beyond current russian topol icbms continues.22 furthermore russia has repeatedly engaged in provocative military exercises involving nuclear assets has forewarned the u.s and its allies that it will target proposed european missile defense sites and has threatened to withdraw from the intermediaterange nuclear forces inf treaty all indications are that russia s modernized nuclear arsenal will remain a defining factor of its force posture.23 therefore despite the view suggested in the 2001 npr that russia was not a nuclear adversary to plan against a preponderance of evidence argues that russia will continue to prompt major considerations for u.s nuclear strategy and deterrent capabilities in the second nuclear age.24 in this age the united states and russia no longer view each other as open adversaries locked in a battle for strategic superiority yet diplomatic relationships between the two nuclear superpowers are strained.25 within this semi-adversarial relationship the two primary actors of the first nuclear age maintain large nuclear arsenals in various stages of readiness here the second nuclear age remains remarkably reminiscent of the first a preponderance of evidence argues that russia will continue to prompt major considerations for u.s nuclear strategy and deterrent capabilities in the second nuclear age china is becoming a regional political and economic power with expanding global influence raising concerns over its growing military power and rising space and defense spending.26 much of china s strategic focus continues to be centered on its claim of sovereignty over taiwan it is beijing s official position that an independent taiwanese state must be prevented at any cost 27 this statement implies that china deems escalation to nuclear war to be a credible deterrent threat in the event of a military conflict involving taiwan however taiwan is not china s sole security concern china is also preparing its military for other contingencies such as conflict over resources and disputed territories.28 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 russia sevmash launch of new borey-class ssbn yuriy dolgorukiy bulava update moscow krasnaya zvezda april 17 2007 translated in open source center doc id cep20070417330001 aleksey nikitin who will more rapidly obtain a new generation bomber internet natsionalnaya informatsionnaya gruppa translated in open source center doc id cep20070717358004 putin says russia developing `completely new strategic missile systems moscow rossiya tv october 18 2007 transcribed in open source center doc id cep20070707950033 another factor is the large number of tactical nuclear warheads russia has retained and the nuclear moves suggested in response to u.s supported missile defense in eastern europe to include stationing nuclear weapons in cuba or pointing nuclear warheads at ukrainian territory see gabriel schoenfeld russia s nuclear threat is more than words the wall street journal august 21 2008 p a11 the fact that russia suspended observing the conventional forces in europe cfe treaty and announced the inf treaty no longer serves russian interests adds credence to this conclusion stephen j blank lists several examples of american growing wariness about russian intentions see blank towards a new russia policy carlisle pa u.s army war college february 2008 see also edward lucas the new cold war new york palgrave macmillan 2008 office of the secretary of defense annual report to congress military power of the people s republic of china 2008 p 1 xinhua `full text of white paper titled `china s national defense 2004 beijing xinhua december 27 2004 transcribed in foreign broadcast information service doc id cpp200412270000034 annual report to congress op cit p 1 8 deterrence and defense in the second nuclear age


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a n a ly s i s center papers with those scenarios in mind how is china modernizing its strategic nuclear weapons should china for planning purposes be regarded as a small modern nuclear state or a large rogue china has at least ten types of ballistic missile systems either operational or in development and is pursuing further slbm deployments.29 despite a professed no first use policy for its nuclear weapons china s military leaders have occasionally indicated otherwise particularly in a situation facing american conventional capabilities.30 a book published by the people s liberation army s second artillery the division of the chinese military that oversees strategic nuclear missiles noted that a reduction in the nuclear use threshold be instituted during wartime as a deterrent to enemy conventional strikes on the mainland.31 in the second nuclear age china like russia may increasingly rely on its nuclear capability to underwrite its foreign policy objectives in the case of modern nuclear states such as russia or china one must also acknowledge the less overt threats that may emerge from a large complex and potentially risk-prone nuclear infrastructure these activities range from illicit technology transfer or leakage to the inadvertent or unauthorized launch of a nuclear weapon prescriptions for future u.s nuclear policy and strategic defense must recognize these myriad dangers sympathetic to various extremist causes are known to be present in sectors of the pakistani military and intelligence organizations raising the prospect that pakistan s nuclear weapons may fall into radical hands moreover islamabad s historical antagonisms and conventional force shortfalls vis à vis india another nuclear power illuminates a worrisome scenario in the event of a regional armed conflict additionally high levels of political upheaval and domestic strife suggest that pakistan may at best remain a fractured state and at worst become a failed one while there is no obvious reason to consider pakistan as antagonistic towards u.s interests there are serious concerns about pakistan s nuclear course given its unpredictable future the rogue state if the previous cases are questionable regarding the actors nuclear weapons capabilities and intentions the threat posed by a rogue state is highly unpredictable north korea illustrates this type of actor north korea claims to have demonstrated its nuclear weapons capability in a 2006 test while it has been suggested that the demonstration may have actually been a nuclear device that misfired a later test might prove more successful coupled with that consideration is north korea s long record of developing wmd and fielding ballistic missiles capable of striking u.s soil.33 while a north korean nuclear weapons capability has been dismissed as simply a powerful diplomatic tool for its rogue leadership its potential for employment is real pyongyang has historically leveraged its nuclear activities through a string of broken international commitments there is little evidence to suggest a more transparent or reliable course even in light of north korea s most recent pledge and recantation to dismantle its nuclear weapons program its checkered past calls for continued u.s wariness absent the verification that north korea no longer poses a threat holding pyongyang s fledgling but potentially devastating icbm force at the fractured nuclear state the fractured nuclear state one that has achieved a nuclear weapons capability yet lacks the political stability to ensure its sovereignty and the security of those weapons is one of the most worrisome prospects of the second nuclear age pakistan may be the greatest concern in this regard pakistan s nuclear weapons complex is thought to be limited and distributed however the reliability of its command and control of these weapons has been questioned.32 radical islamic elements 29 30 31 32 33 u.s china economic and security review commission 2006 report to the congress november 2006 p 136 joseph kahn chinese general threatens use of a-bombs if u.s intrudes new york times july 15 2005 the science of the second artillery campaigns beijing press of the pla march 2004 p 394 david e sanger so what about those nukes the new york times november 11 2007 http steven a hildreth north korean ballistic missile threat to the united states crs report for congress january 3 2007 rs21473 north korea is thought to have enough plutonium to make between six to ten nuclear weapons see disarming north korea the economist july 19 2008 p 51 9 deterrence and defense in the second nuclear age


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a n a ly s i s center papers risk and defending against it is a prudent hedging strategy in this evolving nuclear age the nuclear aspirant the nuclear aspirant is defined as having a desire for nuclear weapons capability yet lagging behind the rogue in terms of progress towards that goal iran and syria provide good examples iran s nascent nuclear program has also generated much international attention but tehran s capabilities and intentions remain largely unknown although a recently released national intelligence estimate deemed tehran s nuclear weapons program on hold indications are that iran could have the capability and resources to produce a nuclear weapon within several years if it continues its peaceful nuclear program.34 added to that are the troubling facts that iran s leadership continues to support and finance terrorist organizations to improve the range and payload of iran s long range missiles and to declare opposition to israel s existence.35 syria has long been thought to have had an interest in developing nuclear weapons alongside its other pursuits of stockpiling chemical and biological agents as well as acquiring advanced missile capabilities how far along it may be or how considerable its interest in that capability remains uncertain however israel judged syria s path toward development unacceptable enough to have recently bombed a suspected syrian nuclear site if the speculation that syria received a reactor for producing plutonium from north korea is true this would be the latest on a long list of pyongyang s proliferation pursuits.36 if damascus maintains a desire for nuclear weapons its long-standing relationship of clandestine technology transfer with north korea suggests a path for that pursuit 2 transnational terror networks and spontaneous terror cells.37 the former category includes regional armed groups such as hezbollah and the liberation tigers of tamil elam ltte that may control or attempt to control territory and population and may have organizational structure and access to substantial resources because of these characteristics this category of actor may be somewhat predictable and deterrable in a more traditional sense.38 alternatively the second category of non-state actor is characterized by a diffusion of ideology high motivation and ruthlessness and the use of operational methods across wide geographical areas.39 little to nothing is predictable about nuclear weapons acquired by transnational terrorist organizations other than their desire to obtain them the most visible of these groups have already applied other unconventional weapons with devastating results and some including al qaeda have made it known that they seek nuclear weapons given the potential for proliferation today nonstate actor acquisition of nuclear weapons may arise through numerous routes direct transfer from a patron state or government actor within that state theft or purchase of fissile material from any number of compromised state nuclear complexes or development of the technical base and materials needed to construct a bomb from scratch while the last of those possibilities is highly unlikely the first two are certainly not clearly the prospect of nuclear weapons in the hands of individuals or small groups is the most uncertain dimension of the second nuclear age the potential for collaboration among the actors described above is also worrisome a nuclear actor prompted by state-sponsored terrorism or motivated by state-supported religious zeal offers a likely scenario of weapons acquisition in the second nuclear age pakistan is often cited as an example largely because of the combination of its nuclear capabilities sympathy and sanctuary for islamic insurgents and internal instability the non-state actor the non-state actor is characterized by two different categories 1 regional armed groups and 34 35 36 37 38 39 kenneth katzman iran u.s concerns and policy responses crs report for congress december 5 2007 rl32048 ibid see for example martha raddatz the case for israel s strike on syria abc world news october 19 2007 austin long deterrence from cold war to long war lessons from six decades of rand research rand santa monica ca 2008 p 81 ibid ibid p 83 10 deterrence and defense in the second nuclear age


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a n a ly s i s center papers government-to-government collaboration is also likely given a supplying government fraught with political volatility pakistan s record supports the trend of collaborating with other nations iran north korea and libya to facilitate nuclear proliferation.40 recently an assessment by the institute for science and international security documented that a.q khan widely considered the father of pakistan s bomb and chief purveyor of its illicit nuclear proliferation network was involved with the planned sale of blueprints for small highly-sophisticated nuclear weapon designs.41 there is no shortage of actors with the capability to threaten the security of american interests and those of its allies if we envision a threat landscape that stretches across the challenges of the second nuclear age we can position the types of nuclear actors based on their capabilities and intentions as figure 1 depicts the categories of actors appear along a spectrum and the threat each poses is generally defined by two inversely related qualities the probability of an attack and that attack s intensity throughout this paper the spectrum will serve as a visual reference for how the effectiveness of deterrence and defense changes with the characteristics of the threat the second nuclear age looking forward nuclear weapons will continue to be leveraged in various ways politically as the proverbial big stick behind soft words and militarily as the absolute weapon.42 will deterrence prevail as a strategy of non-use as in the first nuclear age or is the use of nuclear weapons more likely in a world of continuing proliferation potential loose nukes unguarded or unaccounted fissile material unreliable command and control equipment and procedures and duplicitous and rogue governments it is within the uncertain environment of this second nuclear age that the united states must craft its strategic policy and plan the necessary forces and defenses to support it almost two decades after the collapse of the soviet union it would be wise to examine how u.s strategic offensive forces and defenses originally deployed to deter the u.s.s.r may now address a broader range of dangers does the deterrent strategy of assured secondstrike carried over from the earlier age still hold should the long-held calculation asserting that strategic defenses may prove destabilizing in times of crisis be revisited the definition of deterrence must be updated with considerations of strategic defense to address the motivations and capabilities of new nuclear adversaries figure 1 spectrum of conflict in the second nuclear age a threat landscape higher modern nuclear states intensity of attack fractured nuclear states rogue states nuclear aspirants lower non-state actors higher lower likelihood of attack 40 41 42 richard p cronin et al pakistan s nuclear proliferation activities and the recommendations of the 9/11 commission u.s policy constraints and options crs report for congress may 24 2005 rl32745 david albright swiss smugglers had advanced nuclear weapons designs institute for science and international security june 16 2008 in reference to bernard brodie the absolute weapon new york harcourt brace and company 1946 11 deterrence and defense in the second nuclear age



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