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Cover of Advanced Estimating Methodologies for Conceptual-Stage Development

Advanced Estimating Methodologies for Conceptual-Stage Development

Chuck Alexander

This report presents statistical techniques and cost analysis that significantly enhance legacy technology development estimating methodologies. The techniques leverage independent variables that reflect a comprehensive set of cost drivers relating to technology scale, complexity, type, maturity, and development difficulty. The highly tailored solutions including uncertainty vastly expand and refine earlier development estimating models. A general research and development framework relating key milestones, technology readiness levels, and cost benchmarks is constructed and woven into an integrated solution.

Cover of Cislunar Security National Technical Vision

Cislunar Security National Technical Vision

Edited by Steve Parr and Emma Rainey

This document describes current national needs in cislunar strategy, policy, and technology, with a focus on technology to enable space situational awareness; reconstitution; position, navigation, and timing; and communications missions. It defines current technology needs and challenges for cislunar operations, identifies critical technology gaps, and provides recommendations for near- and long-term technology development at the national level to execute these missions. Technology areas that are specific to a particular mission are discussed in the section for that mission type.

Cover of Wartime Fatalities in the Nuclear Era

Wartime Fatalities in the Nuclear Era

Lauren Ice, James Scouras, and Edward Toton

Senior leaders in the US Department of Defense, as well as nuclear strategists and academics, have argued that the advent of nuclear weapons is associated with a dramatic decrease in wartime fatalities. This assessment is often supported by an evolving series of figures that show a marked drop in wartime fatalities as a percentage of world population after 1945 to levels well below those of the prior centuries. The goal of this report is not to ascertain whether nuclear weapons are associated with or have led to a decrease in wartime fatalities, but rather to critique the supporting statistical evidence. We assess these wartime fatality figures and find that they are both irreproducible and misleading. We perform a more rigorous and traceable analysis and discover that post-1945 wartime fatalities as a percentage of world population are consistent with those of many other historical periods.

First published in Statistics and Public Policy, Volume 9, Issue 1

Cover of Strategic Arms Control Beyond New START

Strategic Arms Control Beyond New START: Lessons from Prior Treaties and Recent Developments

Dennis Evans

The United States has been a party to numerous treaties on nuclear weapons, dating back to the 1960s. These treaties fall into two general categories: treaties that constrain activities (e.g., nuclear testing, placing nuclear weapons in outer space, and nuclear proliferation) and treaties that constrain the number and nature of weapons that the parties can possess. All nine treaties limiting the size and nature of nuclear arsenals (including one treaty that limited missile defense) have been bilateral agreements between the United States and Russia (or the Soviet Union before 1992). During negotiations for strategic arms-control agreements, the key US objectives have been to sustain stable strategic nuclear deterrence and to reduce unnecessary and costly arms races. This report describes all nine of these treaties, with particular focus on the New Strategic Arms Control Treaty (New START)—the only such treaty that is still in effect. Further, this study analyzes how well these treaties kept up with emerging technology and the security environment of their times, and how well they met the goals just listed. This report then draws lessons from earlier treaties and developments of the last decade to provide considerations for the United States to account for when negotiating whatever treaty follows New START. Finally, many earlier arms-control treaties between the United States and Russia took from two and a half to seven years to negotiate, exclusive of preparatory work to initiate negotiations. The expiration date for New START is February 2026, so the time to begin thinking about arms control beyond New START is now.

Cover of On Assessing the Risk of Nuclear War

On Assessing the Risk of Nuclear War

Edited by James Scouras

While careful analysis of the likelihood and consequences of the failure of nuclear deterrence is not usually undertaken in formulating national security strategy, general perception of the risk of nuclear war has a strong influence on the broad directions of national policy. For example, arguments for both national missile defenses and deep reductions in nuclear forces depend in no small part on judgments that deterrence is unreliable. However, such judgments are usually based on intuition, rather than on a synthesis of the most appropriate analytic methods that can be brought to bear. This work attempts to establish a methodological basis for more rigorously addressing the question: What is the risk of nuclear war? Our goals are to clarify the extent to which this is a researchable question and to explore promising analytic approaches. We focus on four complementary approaches to likelihood assessment: historical case study, elicitation of expert knowledge, probabilistic risk assessment, and the application of complex systems theory. We also evaluate the state of knowledge for assessing both the physical and intangible consequences of nuclear weapons use. Finally, we address the challenge of integrating knowledge derived from such disparate approaches.

Front Matter


Chapter 1. Framing the Questions

James Scouras

What are the risks of nuclear war in all its potential manifestations? This is not an easy question to answer, and I do not propose to answer it here. Rather, the more tractable question is whether the process of studying it could yield policy-relevant insights even if it is unlikely to lead to a precise determination of the actual risks of nuclear weapons use. In this chapter, I summarize the current state of analysis regarding the likelihood of nuclear war, focusing on The Lugar Survey on Proliferation Threats and Responses, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Doomsday Clock, and a sampling of analysts’ estimations of the likelihood of interstate nuclear war and nuclear terrorism. These estimations differ widely and are all of questionable validity because they are either fundamentally intuitive or based on very simple—even simplistic—analyses. Can we improve on this state of analysis by using more structured and more comprehensive approaches to provide a sounder basis for policies that will inevitably be based on imperfect analyses of the likelihood of nuclear war?

Chapter 2. Historical Case Study

Andrew Bennett

Case studies are useful in analyzing infrequent events because they can assess “close calls” in which such events could have occurred, as well as those instances in which they actually occurred. Nuclear weapons have been used twice, but there have been many more close calls. This chapter outlines an agenda for using case studies to assess the risks of nuclear weapons use. First, it identifies twelve cases in which leaders used, seriously contemplated using, or might have considered using nuclear weapons. Second, it notes thirteen cases of close calls of accidental or unauthorized detonation of a nuclear weapon. Third, it assesses three possible paths toward the use of nuclear weapons by non-state actors, none of which as yet has had any known close-call incidents. The chapter then briefly assesses how the historical risks of nuclear weapons use might change as the world evolves toward a larger number of nuclear weapons states. Finally, the chapter develops policy-relevant questions on the risks of nuclear weapons use that can be addressed through case studies, including the behavior of new nuclear weapons states, the likelihood of nuclear weapons use by field commanders versus that by national command authorities, the safety trade-offs of dispersed versus centralized nuclear weapons sites, and the differences between contemporaneous and historical evaluations of nuclear risks. These contributions are unlikely to lead to clear point estimates of nuclear risks, but they may help identify which paths toward possible nuclear weapons use deserve more attention and how risks on these paths can be reduced.

Chapter 3. Elicited Expert Knowledge

Jane M. Booker

Every decision and problem solution involves the use of knowledge gained from the experiences and thought processes of humans. Even for data-rich problems, humans influence how data are gathered, interpreted, modeled, and analyzed. For data-poor problems, such as those assessing risks of never-seen, rare, or one-of-a-kind events, knowledge from experts may be the sole available source of information. Assessing the risk of nuclear deterrence failure is an ill-posed problem that falls into the data-poor category. As a result, experts are needed (1) to supply the information and knowledge for the risk assessment and (2) to define and structure the deterrence problem. These two uses of elicited expert knowledge are discussed. For both, formal elicitation methods for bias minimization are recommended and briefly described. Formal elicitation also involves planning and the use of methods for obtaining the best-quality information from the experts’ thinking and problem solving. This formalism includes the characterization of uncertainties, which are prevalent in the deterrence problem, and the analysis of the elicited information, which is necessary for assessing the likelihood and consequence constituents of risk.

Chapter 4. Probabilistic Risk Assessment

Martin E. Hellman

Probabilistic risk assessment (PRA) can provide a quantitative estimate of risk for catastrophes that have not yet occurred by analyzing sequences of events that can lead to that event—in our case a major nuclear war. PRA is also useful for reducing that risk by identifying potential paths to nuclear weapons use that otherwise might escape attention. While PRA has been embraced in nuclear power, spaceflight, and other engineering fields, there are significant challenges to transferring that experience to the risk of nuclear deterrence failing. In-depth PRA of nuclear deterrence holds promise but requires significant further research. Fortunately, a simple approach can be used to show that the risk of nuclear deterrence failing currently appears to be on the order of 1 percent per year. It is hoped that this surprising result will cause society to invest in the larger efforts required for in-depth analysis, both to estimate and to reduce the risk of a major nuclear war.

Chapter 5. Nuclear Deterrence as a Complex System

Edward T. Toton and James Scouras

Even if the US Cold War nuclear deterrence system could be regarded as a triumphant success because no nuclear war occurred between the United States and the Soviet Union, the strategic nuclear deterrence system of today must contend with a geopolitical landscape far more complicated than that of the Cold War. Seven acknowledged nuclear powers exist, and others, including transnational organizations, are attempting to join their ranks. Multiple nuclear states, nuclear capabilities that vary widely in technological sophistication, and different levels of stockpiles and security implementations all suggest that the nuclear deterrence landscape is far more uncertain in its risk of failure than at any other time in history. These components also suggest that the nuclear deterrence system has features that are consistent with the formal definition of complex systems; therefore, complex systems theory is most appropriate for addressing fundamental questions of risk. We explore these features and discuss failures from the points of view of accidents and human error or missteps, drawing on treatments of complex systems in general and the Cuban missile crisis in particular. We suggest how fundamental research in complex systems theory can contribute to assessing the risk of failure of nuclear deterrence. Whether formal modeling of nuclear deterrence systems can provide practical utility in a multipolar nuclear world has yet to be determined. We suggest construction of simplified mathematical models as a first step in grappling with the complexities of systems of nuclear deterrence. We propose that assessment of the risk of failure of nuclear deterrence associated with the close calls in the Cuban missile crisis would be a practical test of preliminary understanding of this complex problem.

Chapter 6. The Physical Consequences of Nuclear Weapons Use

Michael J. Frankel, James Scouras, and George W. Ullrich

The considerable body of knowledge on the consequences of nuclear weapons use—accumulated through an extensive, sustained, and costly national investment in both testing and analysis over two-thirds of a century—underlies all operational and policy decisions related to US nuclear planning. We find that even when consideration is restricted to the physical consequences of nuclear weapons use, where our knowledge base on effects of primary importance to military planners is substantial, there remain very large uncertainties. These uncertainties exist in no small part because many facets of the issue, such as the effects on the infrastructures that sustain society, have not been adequately investigated. Other significant uncertainties in physical consequences remain because important phenomena were uncovered late in the nuclear test program, have been inadequately studied, are inherently difficult to model, or are the result of new weapon developments. Nonphysical consequences, such as social, psychological, political, and full economic effects, are even more difficult to quantify and have never been on any funding agency’s radar screen. As a result, the physical consequences of a nuclear conflict tend to have been underestimated, and a full-spectrum all-effects assessment is not within anyone’s grasp now or in the foreseeable future. The continuing brain drain of nuclear scientists and the general failure to recognize the post–Cold War importance of accurate and comprehensive nuclear consequence assessments, especially for scenarios of increasing concern at the lower end of the scale of catastrophe, do not bode well for improving this situation. This paper outlines the current state of our knowledge base and presents recommendations for strengthening it.

Chapter 7. The Intangible Consequences of Nuclear Weapons Use

Dallas Boyd

Analyses of the effects of nuclear weapons have traditionally focused on the physical destruction they produce, especially their human toll, devastation of cities, and damage to the environment. To the extent that nonphysical effects are taken into account, strategists have emphasized the influence of nuclear weapons on national decision-making, particularly whether a limited strike would escalate to an all-out nuclear exchange. Yet, the range of nonphysical weapon effects is much broader, encompassing social, psychological, political, and economic impacts that would reverberate long after a nuclear attack. In a limited-use scenario, these ramifications—designated as “intangible” effects in this analysis—may greatly surpass the physical damage incurred, just as the cost and scope of the response to September 11 dwarfed the direct effects of the attacks. Moreover, unlike physical phenomena, many of these intangible effects are the result of human decisions and are thus theoretically controllable. Given that the limited use of nuclear weapons is probably more likely than a massive nuclear war, there is a pressing need to understand these intangible effects and identify practical steps to minimize them.

Chapter 8. Knowledge Integration

Jane M. Booker

For multifaceted problems such as assessing the risk of nuclear deterrence failure, data, information, and knowledge can emerge from many different sources involving diverse subject areas and in myriad qualitative or quantitative forms. Often the amounts of data, information, and knowledge are limited, apply to rare events or events that have never occurred, or both, necessitating the combined use of all sources. For example, sources include historical data on past events; expertise from authorities in different subject areas; and knowledge about past and current cultures, human behaviors, sociology, politics of people and states, as well as the theory or rules governing politics. Regardless of source and form, available knowledge has uncertainty attached. Some uncertainties can be significant, and the uncertainties themselves can be of different types. Depending on the type of uncertainty, quantification may not be feasible or the appropriate mathematical theory for it may be difficult to apply. Nonetheless, decision- and policy-makers need a final or top-level answer about nuclear deterrence failure accompanied by an understandable uncertainty. Knowledge integration methods address these needs and provide ways to tackle other difficulties encountered when combining all available data, information, and knowledge and their associated uncertainties to produce an assessment of risk. Some of the integration principles and methods are described in this chapter, especially those related to the challenges in assessing the risk of nuclear deterrence failure—a problem of significant uncertainties and poor data, information, and knowledge.

Chapter 9. Reflections

James Scouras

Motivated by the importance of the perceived risk of nuclear deterrence failure in national security policy formulation, we began our study by asking whether more structured analytic approaches could improve on the highly intuitive manner by which the risk of deterrence failure has generally been assessed. For the likelihood dimension of risk, each of the approaches included in this book—case study, elicitation of expert judgment, probabilistic risk assessment, and application of complex systems theory—has something unique to offer. However, none of these approaches can do the job by itself. Rather we have reinforced the notion that multiple disciplines can each shed limited light on the question. We must extract from each of them whichever valuable insights they offer and do our best to synthesize these insights, using the art and science of knowledge integration, into a policy-relevant assessment. However daunting this task, discernible research paths hold significant promise. As for the physical consequences of nuclear use, it is clear that our knowledge base, derived primarily from concern about the military effectiveness of nuclear weapons, is inadequate to assess the potential consequences from the broader array of nuclear uses that now appear possible or from intangible consequences that could exceed even the physical consequences. This lack of knowledge is easier to address from an analytic perspective but requires an adequately funded research program. The dim prospects of such a program are yet another consequence of the complacency induced by our intuitive sense that nuclear weapon risks have largely abated.

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Operational Analysis for Coronavirus Testing

Marc Mangel and Alan Brown

Testing will remain a key tool for those managing health care and making health policy for the current coronavirus pandemic, and testing will probably be an important tool in future pandemics. Because of test errors, the observed fraction of positive tests, the surface positivity, is generally different from the underlying incidence rate of the disease. We model, using both analytical and simulation tools, the process of testing to address (1) how to go from positivity to a point estimate incidence rate; (2) how to compute a reasonable range of possible incidence rates, given the models and data; (3) how to compare different levels of positivity in light of test errors, particularly false negatives; and (4) how to compute the risk (defined as including one infected individual) of groups of different sizes, given the estimate of incidence rate. Our approach is based on modeling the process generating test data in which the true state of the world (incidence rate, probability of a false negative test, and probability of a false positive test) is known. This allows us to compare analytical predictions with a known situation, thus providing confidence when the tools are used when the true state of the world is not known.

Supplementary Figures

Defeating Coercive Information Operations In Future Crises

Defeating Coercive Information Operations in Future Crises

Paul Stockton

The US government and its social media partners are bolstering their defenses against foreign election interference and campaigns to corrode democratic governance. Those efforts are vital but inadequate for the emerging security environment. The United States should also account for the risk that in intense regional crises, adversaries will use information operations (IOs) to coerce US and allied behavior. In particular, opponents will seek to convince US and allied policymakers that unless they back down, their nations will suffer punishment that dwarfs any gains they hope to achieve. If adversaries cannot prevail through IOs alone, they may fulfill their threats and launch increasingly destructive cyberattacks, paired with warnings that further punishment will follow until the US and its allies capitulate.

The US military is rapidly improving its ability to conduct coercive operations against US opponents. Yet, the federal government has barely begun to develop strategies and capabilities to defeat equivalent campaigns against us. This study examines the vulnerabilities of the US public and policymaking process to coercive IOs and analyzes Chinese and Russian technologies to exploit these vulnerabilities with unprecedented effectiveness. The study also proposes options to defeat (and, ideally, help deter) future coercive campaigns, in ways that uphold the Constitution and leverage progress already underway against electoral interference and the corrosion of democratic governance.

Ready for the Next Storm: AI-Enabled Situational Awareness in Disaster Response

Ready for the Next Storm: AI-Enabled Situational Awareness in Disaster Response

Jen Dailey Lambert, Michelle Rose, Jeremy Ratcliff, Megan O’Connor, Tara Kedia, Sophia Oluic, Jeff Freeman, and Kaitlin Lovett

Situational awareness during disaster response is critical as it enables the response community to rapidly and efficiently assist those in urgent need during the time-sensitive, acute phase of a disaster. New technologies can drastically improve the effectiveness of response operations: satellite imagery to quickly map the destructive path of a hurricane, social media tracking to identify communities of increased need, and computer modeling to predict the route of a wildfire to inform evacuations. The US government has prioritized implementation of artificial intelligence (AI) systems throughout the federal agencies, including those technologies that may assist in disaster response. In this report, we contribute a technological road map for delivering to the response community near- and more distant-future AI-enabled technologies that could aid in SA during disasters. By exploring current and historical technology trends, successes, and difficulties, we envision the benefits and vulnerabilities that such new technologies could bring to disaster response. Given the complexities associated with both disasters and AI-enabled technologies, an integrated approach to development will be necessary to ensure that new technologies are both science driven and operationally feasible.

National Cyber Defense Center

National Cyber Defense Center

James Miller and Robert Butler

The United States should establish a National Cyber Defense Center (NCDC) in the Office of the National Cyber Director to proactively address cyber threats to US interests. The NCDC would plan and coordinate US governmental efforts across four areas: cyber deterrence, active cyber defense, offensive cyber operations in support of defense, and incident management. It would also work closely with the private sector, state and local governments, and US allies. Such a proactive and comprehensive approach is needed to deal with cyber adversaries who are exploiting seams within the US government and between the US government and the private sector.

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Tickling The Sleeping Dragon’s Tail: Should We Resume Nuclear Testing?

Michael Frankel, James Scouras, and George Ullrich

This report addresses the questions of whether the United States should resume nuclear testing and, if not, whether it should better prepare to do so in the future. Our goal is to provide a comprehensive and balanced consideration of all significant arguments that inform these questions. To place these arguments in the proper context, we briefly recount US nuclear testing history, describing alternative objectives for nuclear tests and providing a taxonomical retrospective of significant surprises encountered—in the nuclear environment, in vulnerabilities of military systems, and in weapon performance and safety. We review as well the critical role played by Science-Based Stockpile Stewardship in lieu of testing and the concerns of its critics. We also describe the current state of nuclear test readiness and assess whether the United States can presently meet its readiness obligations. After considering all significant technical and policy arguments and counterarguments, both for and against test resumption, we conclude that under present circumstances, the United States should not resume nuclear testing because of the lack of a compelling national security need combined with potentially significant negative geopolitical consequences for nuclear proliferation and reignition of a nuclear arms race. However, we identify a series of future technical and political developments whose occurrence would require revisiting our decision calculus. We end the report with recommendations to improve test readiness and, as a final thought, place the issue of whether or not to resume nuclear testing in the context of conflicting far- and near-term US national security goals.

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Operational Analysis for Coronavirus Testing

Alan Brown and Marc Mangel

Even though vaccines for coronavirus are increasingly available, it will be many months before sufficient herd immunity is achieved. Thus, testing remains a key tool for those managing health care and making policy decisions. Test errors, both false positive tests and false negative tests, mean that the surface positivity (the observed fraction of tests that are positive) does not accurately represent the incidence rate (the unobserved fraction of individuals infected with coronavirus). In this report, directed to individuals tasked with providing analytical advice to policymakers, we describe a method for translating from the surface positivity to a point estimate for the incidence rate, then to an appropriate range of values for the incidence rate, and finally to the risk (defined as the probability of including one infected individual) associated with groups of different sizes. The method is summarized in four equations that can be implemented in a spreadsheet or using a handheld calculator. We discuss limitations of the method and provide an appendix describing the underlying mathematical models.

Cover of The Russian Invasion of the Crimean Peninsula, 2014–2015: A Post–Cold War Nuclear Crisis Case Study

The Russian Invasion of the Crimean Peninsula, 2014–2015: A Post–Cold War Nuclear Crisis Case Study

Jonathon Cosgrove

As part of an overall examination of nuclear weapons in post–Cold War crises, this case study examines the role of nuclear weapons in tensions between the United States and Russia during the invasion of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula. The initial success of Russian efforts to coerce Ukraine away from association with the European Union (EU) triggered a popular protest movement that led to the removal of Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych from office. Faced with a new, pro-Western government in Kiev, Russia immediately moved to invade the Crimean Peninsula. As international tensions rose, both the United States and the EU sought to maintain Ukraine’s territorial integrity through diplomatic and economic means. However, Russia did not accept US nonintervention as a given and sought to deter action to reverse the invasion by brandishing its nonstrategic nuclear arsenal through nuclear messaging, allusions to nuclear first-use policies, drawing of nuclear red lines, and the maneuver of dual-use platforms onto the occupied Crimean Peninsula. By examining the roles that nuclear weapons and their characteristics played throughout the crisis, this case study points to potentially important variables for consideration in future academic studies, and sounds the warning for policy makers on how Russia might leverage its nonstrategic nuclear arsenal in future confrontations.

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“Measure Twice, Cut Once: Assessing Some China–US Technology Connections” Series

The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory commissioned “Measure Twice, Cut Once: Assessing Some China–US Technology Connections,” a series of papers from experts in specific technology areas to explore the advisability and potential consequences of decoupling.

In each of these areas, the authors have explored the feasibility and desirability of increased technological separation and offered their thoughts on a possible path forward. The authors all recognize the real risks presented by aggressive, and frequently illegal, Chinese attempts to achieve superiority in critical technologies. However, the project also represents a reality check regarding the feasibility and potential downsides of broadly severing technology ties with China.

The project was led by former Secretary of the Navy Richard Danzig, initially in partnership with Avril Haines, former Deputy National Security Advisor. This compilation of papers was authored by experts from across the nation, and the views of the authors are their own.

“Measure Twice, Cut Once: Assessing Some China–US Technology Connections” Series Documents:

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South China Sea Military Capabilities Series

J. Michael Dahm

In the information age, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) believe that success in combat will be realized by winning a struggle for information superiority in the operational batttlespace. China’s informationized warfare strategy and information-centric operational concepts are central to how the PLA will generate combat power. These South China Sea (SCS) military capability (MILCAP) studies provide a survey of military technologies and systems on Chinese-claimed island-reefs in the disputed Spratly Islands. The relative compactness of China’s SCS outposts makes them an attractive case study of PLA military capabilities. Each island-reef and its associated military base facilities may be captured in a single commercial satellite image. An examination of capabilities on China’s island-reefs reveals the PLA’s informationized warfare strategy and the military’s designs on generating what the Chinese call “information power.” The SCS MILCAP series is organized around different categories of information power capabilities, from reconnaissance to communications to hardened infrastructure. Kinetic effects will remain an important component of PLA operational design. However, any challenger to Chinese military capabilities in the SCS must first account for and target the very core of the PLA’s informationized warfare strategy—its information power.

South China Sea Military Capabilities Series Documents:

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Responding to North Korean Nuclear First Use: So Many Imperatives, So Little Time

Erin Hahn and James Scouras

What if North Korea were to actually use one or more nuclear weapons? How should the United States respond? The singularly important US prewar objective is to deter nuclear war, but once nuclear weapons have been unleashed, this objective will immediately become moot. US post-nuclear-attack imperatives will likely include (1) physically preventing further use of nuclear weapons by North Korea; (2) cognitively dissuading further North Korean nuclear use; (3) convincing other adversaries that nuclear use is a horrendous idea; (4) allaying allies’ concerns about extended deterrence; (5) satisfying domestic political demands; (6) conforming to international law; and (7) last, and quite possibly least, restoring the nuclear taboo. We address each of these imperatives in turn. Our goal is not to determine the “correct” response to North Korean nuclear first use but rather to identify the principal considerations involved in each of these imperatives. Fulfilling all these diverse imperatives in any particular scenario is highly improbable, so we also briefly address the relative priorities among several of them. We conclude with a discussion of the roles of the research and analysis community, the public, and political and military elites who may find themselves in positions of advising the president in a future nuclear crisis.

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Nuclear War as a Global Catastrophic Risk

James Scouras

Nuclear war is clearly a global catastrophic risk, but it is not an existential risk as is sometimes carelessly claimed. Unfortunately, the consequence and likelihood components of the risk of nuclear war are both highly uncertain. In particular, for nuclear wars that include targeting of multiple cities, nuclear winter may result in more fatalities across the globe than the better-understood effects of blast, prompt radiation, and fallout. Electromagnetic pulse effects, which could range from minor electrical disturbances to the complete collapse of the electric grid, are similarly highly uncertain. Nuclear war likelihood assessments are largely based on intuition, and they span the spectrum from zero to certainty. Notwithstanding these profound uncertainties, we must manage the risk of nuclear war with the knowledge we have. Benefit-cost analysis and other structured analytic methods applied to evaluate risk mitigation measures must acknowledge that we often do not even know whether many proposed approaches (e.g., reducing nuclear arsenals) will have a net positive or negative effect. Multidisciplinary studies are needed to better understand the consequences and likelihood of nuclear war and the complex relationship between these two components of risk, and to predict both the direction and magnitude of risk mitigation approaches.

First published in Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis, Volume 10, Issue 2

Cover of Responding to North Korean Nuclear First Use: Minimizing Damage to the Nuclear Taboo

Responding to North Korean Nuclear First Use: Minimizing Damage to the Nuclear Taboo

Erin Hahn, James Scouras, Robert Leonhard, and Camille Spencer

The objective of this workshop, funded by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) through the Project on Advanced Systems and Concepts for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction, was to address issues associated with responding to the first use of nuclear weapons by North Korea, with an emphasis on restoring the taboo against nuclear use. The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory conducted the workshop on April 23–24, 2019, to bring together thought leaders from a variety of fields, including norm theory and practice, nuclear strategy, and Northeast Asia. Workshop participants considered scenarios involving North Korean nuclear first use and developed and analyzed options for responding to that first use. The workshop concluded with discussions of key questions. Through workshop contributions and post-workshop deliberations, we developed recommendations for DTRA, US Strategic Command, the intelligence community, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Primary among these recommendations is that all these organizations take restoration of the nuclear taboo seriously as a US objective after an adversary’s nuclear first use and that they conduct appropriate analyses and planning in advance to provide the president with effective nonnuclear retaliatory options that could reduce the severity and duration of damage to the taboo.

Cover of Game Theory and Nuclear Stability in Northeast Asia

Game Theory and Nuclear Stability in Northeast Asia

Lauren Ice, James Scouras, Kelly Rooker, Robert Leonhard, and David McGarvey

This study assesses game theory’s potential to contribute to understanding the North Korean nuclear crisis. Previous APL work suggests that game theory provides a useful framework for formulating and analyzing multilateral nuclear stability issues; however, it seldom provides unique policy-relevant insights. For it to do so, game theorists must work closely with policy and subject matter experts. Thus, APL invited game theorists and nuclear and regional experts to (1) discuss the strengths and limitations of game theory applied to the North Korean nuclear crisis; (2) address the policy community’s skepticism about game theoretic analyses; and (3) explore mechanisms for collaboration. We found that game theory, when correctly applied, is a rigorous framework for understanding interactions in international conflicts; however, its predictive capability is limited. Misguided expectations have led to skepticism about its utility. While collaboration between these communities might increase understanding of nuclear crisis dynamics, obstacles include resolving motivational and communication issues, regulating expectations, and avoiding improper applications of game theory.

Cover of Nuclear Deterrence as a Complex System

Nuclear Deterrence as a Complex System

Edward Toton and James Scouras

We establish that the US system for nuclear deterrence is a complex system in the formal sense, that nuclear deterrence must be regarded as a system-level function, and that the consequence of this is that there is the possibility of system-level failures not obviously connected to any component failures. These are emergent properties not predictable from an understanding of each of its components and interactions that may be candidates for Taleb’s black swan events. To understand the potential risk of failure of the US nuclear deterrence system as it exists in the United States and in the larger context of multiple state actors, it is necessary to understand the potential interactions of components and command authority. For the analyst, this means constructing models that attempt to capture the non-linearities of interactions, the existence of which is increasingly apparent.

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Nuclear Crisis Outcomes: Winning, Uncertainty, and the Nuclear Balance

Kelly Rooker and James Scouras

The binomial distribution is widely used across many different disciplines. In cases where data can be represented with a binomial distribution, an estimate for the binomial distribution parameter (for the probability of success) is often produced. However, uncertainty surrounding this estimate is only sometimes reported, partly due to the opacity of the various methods available for determining this uncertainty. Failing to appropriately analyze uncertainty can lead to erroneous, or at least incomplete, conclusions. Here, we explore both Bayesian and frequentist methods for quantifying uncertainty in the binomial distribution parameter, and discuss each method's various advantages and limitations. Our work is motivated by nuclear crisis outcome data. While nuclear crises have been studied to determine the likelihood of the nuclear-superior, compared to the nuclear-inferior, state winning in a crisis, there is great uncertainty in these estimates for the probability of winning. We demonstrate methods that appropriately quantify such uncertainty and use nuclear crisis outcome data to illustrate applications of the methods we present, as well as to demonstrate insights that can be provided by explicitly analyzing uncertainty.

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Nonstrategic Nuclear Forces: Moving beyond the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review

Dennis Evans, Barry Hannah, and Jonathan Schwalbe

The United States has a nuclear triad consisting of ballistic missile submarines, land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, B-52 bombers, and B-2 bombers. At one time, it also had thousands of nonstrategic nuclear weapons (NSNWs) that were not covered by any treaties until the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty banned several types of US and Soviet weapons in 1987. Today, US NSNWs are limited to unguided bombs on non-stealthy short-range fighters at several bases in NATO countries. Russia, by contrast, has a much larger inventory of NSNWs and is modernizing them. China also has NSNWs, and North Korea either already poses, or soon will pose, a nuclear threat in the western Pacific. This growing asymmetry in NSNWs may pose a threat to NATO and to US allies in the western Pacific. The United States needs to devote more attention to this situation, considering improvements to its NSNWs along with other measures that might help mitigate these asymmetries, such as improved defenses against small nuclear attacks. The United States also needs to consider options for modifications to the INF Treaty in lieu of complete withdrawal.

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A Preface to Strategy: The Foundations of American National Security

Richard Danzig, John Allen, Phil DePoy, Lisa Disbrow, James Gosler, Avril Haines, Samuel Locklear III, James Miller, James Stavridis, Paul Stockton, and Robert Work

During World War II, international threats and national goals were clear. That clarity continued, albeit to a lesser degree, throughout the Cold War and into the new century, with the United States as the world’s preeminent superpower and leader in defense, technology, and economic might. Today’s world is a different place, and the need for a clear picture of it is critical. This paper helps to crystallize that picture by first identifying premises that served processes, institutions, and strategies from World War II through the Cold War, seeking to comprehend our inherited predispositions as predicate for rethinking them. It then identifies changes that undermine these premises. To forge new premises, the authors specify foundational American strengths that must be protected and expanded amid and despite these changes. Finally, the authors suggest premises for a new age of strategic thought. This paper does not recommend a new national security strategy. Instead, it serves as a necessary preface to such a strategy by articulating how our national strengths and weaknesses must be understood as foundations for American security and by showing how the premises that have guided us from World War II to the present must be modified for the future.

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Resilience for Grid Security Emergencies: Opportunities for Industry–Government Collaboration

Paul N. Stockton

Power companies and US government agencies have an unprecedented opportunity to strengthen preparedness for cyber and physical attacks on the electric grid. In December 2015, Congress authorized the secretary of energy to issue emergency orders to grid operators to protect and restore grid reliability in grid security emergencies. These orders could help sustain electric service to military bases and other vital facilities. However, unless the electric industry and the Department of Energy partner to develop emergency orders before attacks occur, they will miss significant opportunities to help deter and (if necessary) defeat such attacks.

This report examines design requirements for emergency orders. It analyzes decisions criteria that the president might use to determine that a grid security emergency exists, which is a prerequisite for issuing emergency orders. The report assesses possible orders for three phases of grid security emergencies: when attacks are imminent; when attacks are under way; and when utilities begin to restore power, potentially while facing follow-on attacks. It identifies recommendations to strengthen emergency communications plans and capabilities. It concludes by identifying areas for further analysis, including measures to bolster cross-sector resilience between the grid and the other infrastructure systems and sectors on which it depends.

Cover of Quantifying Improbability: An Analysis of the Lloyd’s of London Business Blackout Cyber Attack Scenario

Quantifying Improbability: An Analysis of the Lloyd’s of London Business Blackout Cyber Attack Scenario

Susan Lee, Michael Moskowitz, and Jane Pinelis

Scenarios that describe cyber attacks on the electric grid consistently predict significant disruptions to the economy and citizens’ quality of life. Most offer anecdotal support for the grid’s vulnerability to such an attack and assume the existence of an adversary with the means and intent to launch the attack. An estimate of risk, however, also requires knowledge of the probability that an attack of the required caliber can be successfully executed. Quantifying the probability of success for a large-scale cyber attack is hard because of the lack of precedent and the changing nature of threats and vulnerabilities. This report uses the grid cyber attack scenario outlined in the Lloyd’s of London and the University of Cambridge Centre for Risk Studies 2015 report, Business Blackout, to demonstrate how a probabilistic assessment could be used to quantify the likelihood that the scenario could occur. The analysis is subject to the limitations inherent in any probabilistic risk assessment; however, it serves to highlight some interesting phenomena that deserve further investigation, such as the importance of some individual power plants in influencing the adversary’s probability of success. In addition, it describes feasible data collection that would materially increase the validity of such an analysis.

Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles and Their Role in Future Nuclear Forces

Dr. Dennis Evans and Dr. Jonathan Schwalbe

Since 1960, the US strategic nuclear arsenal has consisted of a triad of land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) on ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs), and long-range bombers. This triad played a key role in US security for decades, but all current nuclear delivery systems, except the B-2 bomber, will reach the ends of their lives by 2045.

Published in Air & Space Power Journal, Volume 32, Issue 2

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Parametric Cost and Schedule Modeling for Early Technology Development

Chuck Alexander

There is a need in the scientific, technology, and financial communities for economic forecast models that improve the ability to estimate new or immature technology developments. Engineering design or conceptual technical requirements with which to drive parametric estimates or translate analogous system costs are often unavailable in early life-cycle stages of technology development. The limited availability of comparable systems, design or performance parameters, and other objective bases makes it challenging to produce even rough-order-of-magnitude cost and schedule models. Often compounding the limited availability of information is the proprietary or protected nature of technology research and development efforts and related intellectual property. Consequently, executives, program managers, budget analysts, and other decision-makers must often rely on historical information from related yet often very dissimilar systems or the subjective opinion or “best guess” of subject-matter experts. This paper first investigates available industry modeling concepts, frameworks, models, and tools. A representative project data set is identified and selected for cost and schedule modeling, leveraging macro-parameters generally known or available in early technology development stages. Several model forms are then created and evaluated based on key performance criteria.

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Sony’s Nightmare Before Christmas: The 2014 North Korean Cyber Attack on Sony and Lessons for US Government Actions in Cyberspace

Antonio DeSimone and Nicholas Horton

The cyber attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment in late 2014 began as a public embarrassment for an American company and ultimately led to a highly visible response from national leaders after the purported criminals threatened 9/11-style attacks on movie theaters showing the film. The cyber attack was triggered by the imminent release of The Interview, a comedy by Sony Pictures Entertainment in which an American talk show host and his producer are recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency to travel to North Korea and assassinate Kim Jong-un, the country's supreme leader. The cyber attack was discussed everywhere: from supermarket tabloids, delighting in gossip-rich leaked emails, to official statements by leaders in the US government, including President Obama.

The events surrounding the attack and attribution provide insight into the effects of government and private-sector actions on the perception of a cyber event among the public, the effect of attribution on the behavior of the attackers, and possible motives for North Korea's high-profile cyber actions. The incident also illuminates the role of multi-domain deterrence to respond to attacks in the cyber domain.

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The Long-Range Standoff (LRSO) Cruise Missile and Its Role in Future Nuclear Forces

Dennis Evans and Jonathan Schwalbe

The United States has a nuclear triad that consists of ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs), land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), B-52 bombers, and B-2 bombers. The non-stealthy B-52 relies entirely on the AGM-86 Air-Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM) in the nuclear role, whereas the B-2 penetrates enemy airspace to drop unguided bombs. The current SSBNs, ICBMs, ALCMs, and B61 bombs will all reach end of life between the early 2020s (for the B61 bomb) and the early 2040s, whereas the B-52 should last until at least 2045 and the B-2 should last until at least 2050. Programs are well under way for a new SSBN, a new bomber, and the B61-12 guided bomb, whereas programs have just started for a new ICBM and for the Long-Range Standoff (LRSO) cruise missile that is planned to replace the AGM-86. Among these programs, the LRSO is the most controversial and (probably) the one at most risk of cancellation. Analyses presented here suggest that LRSO is critical to the future of the triad and should not be terminated or delayed.

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Nonstrategic Nuclear Weapons at an Inflection Point

Michael Frankel, James Scouras, and George Ullrich

The world has changed greatly since the last Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) was formulated only some seven years ago, and US nuclear policy must be responsive to these changes. In particular, the 2010 NPR assessed that Russia and the United States are “no longer adversaries” and their “prospects for military confrontation have declined dramatically.” This assessment has been directly confronted in the intervening years by Russia’s steady stream of nuclear saber rattling, its naked aggression in Ukraine, and its palpably bellicose willingness to project its military might beyond Europe. Moreover, large asymmetries in nonstrategic nuclear capabilities, coupled with Russia’s escalate-to-deescalate doctrine and earlier abandonment of its commitment to a no-first-use nuclear posture, suggest that Russia views nuclear weapons as useful instruments of intimidation and warfighting. We argue that Russian first-use of nuclear weapons in Europe should be addressed as a high priority nuclear threat in the trump administration’s NPR. We address the roles of allied nonstrategic nuclear weapons in Europe; the challenges posed by asymmetries in numbers, systems, and doctrine; and NATO’s potential response options. Looking forward, we anticipate key nuclear policy decisions the trump administration must face, and suggest that the issue of nonstrategic nuclear weapons, heretofore treated as a nearly irrelevant epicycle orbiting the greater strategic nuclear issues at play, can no longer be neglected.

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Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles and Their Role in Future Nuclear Forces

Dennis Evans and Jonathan Schwalbe

This report presents analyses relevant to a decision on whether to retain an ICBM force beyond about 2035 and—if ICBMs are to be retained—what characteristics would be desirable in a future ICBM force. This report also identifies relevant policy issues that need to be resolved before making large acquisition decisions or deciding on new treaties for nuclear weapons. We begin with top-level conclusions, followed by key assumptions, survivability of US forces against a preemptive attack, target coverage, comparison of force structure options on survivability and price to attack, and final observations, in that order. Other relevant metrics (discussed to some extent in the main body of the report) include sensitivity to alert posture; sensitivity to enemy intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities; inflight survivability; and cost.

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Future Fleet Project. What Can We Afford?

Mark Lewellyn, Chris Wright, Rodney Yerger, and Duy Nhan Bui

Many factors affect the size and makeup of the Navy’s fleet. Not the least of these is the amount of money available to recapitalize the ships and submarines that comprise the fleet. Recent assessments by the Congressional Budget Office show that the funds needed to support the Navy’s current thirty-year shipbuilding plan will need to increase by about a third over the average funds used by the Navy during the past thirty years. This paper explores fiscally constrained modernization strategies for the Navy’s future fleet designed to achieve key priorities, such as recapitalization of the sea-based nuclear deterrent, while minimizing reductions to other components of the plan.

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Superstorm Sandy: Implications for Designing a Post-Cyber Attack Power Restoration System

Paul Stockton

This Perspective summarizes electric grid restoration challenges posed by Superstorm Sandy and contrasts them with those that would be produced by a cyber attack on the grid. It examines the implications of these disparate challenges for the electricity industry’s mutual assistance system and proposes potential steps to build an “all-hazards” system that can account for the unique problems that cyber attacks will create. The study also analyzes support missions that state and federal agencies might perform in response to requests for assistance from utilities and analyzes how to build a cyber response framework that can coordinate such requests. 

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“Little Green Men”: A Primer on Modern Russian Unconventional Warfare, Ukraine 2013–2014

Robert R. Leonhard, Stephen P. Phillips, and the Assessing Revolutionary and Insurgent Strategies (ARIS) Team

This document is intended as a primer—a brief, informative treatment—concerning the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. It is an unclassified expansion of an earlier classified version that drew from numerous classified and unclassified sources, including key US Department of State diplomatic cables. For this version, the authors drew from open source articles, journals, and books. Because the primer examines a very recent conflict, it does not reflect a comprehensive historiography, nor does it achieve in-depth analysis. Instead, it is intended to acquaint the reader with the essential background to and course of the Russian intervention in Ukraine from the onset of the crisis in late 2013 through the end of 2014.

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The Uncertain Consequences of Nuclear Weapons Use

Michael Frankel, James Scouras, and George Ullrich

The considerable body of knowledge on the consequences of nuclear weapons use underlies all operational and policy decisions related to US nuclear planning—but very large uncertainties still remain. As a result, the physical consequences of a nuclear conflict tend to have been underestimated, and a full-spectrum all-effects assessment is not within anyone’s grasp now or in the foreseeable future. This work outlines the current state of our knowledge base and presents recommendations for strengthening it.

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The Cyber Dimensions of the Syrian Civil War

Edwin Grohe

This Perspective describes cyber operations known to have been used during the Syrian civil war from January 2011 until December 2013. The cyber operations of pro-regime forces, anti-regime forces, and nations providing support, as well as US involvement and its effects on these cyber operations, are discussed as a basis for drawing observations and implications for future conflicts.

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Assessing the Risk of Catastrophic Cyber Attack

Michael Frankel, James Scouras, and Antonio De Simone

Reflecting on the similarities between cyber and electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attacks, the authors of this Research Note explain how the approach used by the EMP Commission to assess the likelihood and consequences of EMP attacks could provide useful lessons for analysts grappling with the analogous assessment of cyber attacks.

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A Conventional Flexible Response Strategy for the Western Pacific

Brendan Cooley and James Scouras

Uncertainties about China’s rise and the nature of its future relationship with the United States create the need for a grand strategy that simultaneously hedges against alternative futures while making more worrisome futures less probable. A conventional flexible response strategy could provide adequate deterrent capability at the high end of the spectrum of conflict and be better able to manage confrontations at the low end, while nudging China toward integration into the current global order.

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Cross-Domain Deterrence in US–China Strategy

James Scouras, Edward Smyth, and Thomas Mahnken

This report documents the Cross-Domain Deterrence Workshop conducted at APL on June 26, 2013. The overarching objectives of the workshop were to identify (1) the challenges in deterring actions in one domain of warfare (e.g., cyber, space, nuclear, conventional, etc.) by posing retaliatory threats in another domain and (2) research needs and promising research approaches for advancing our understanding of these challenges and forging effective cross-domain policies and strategies. The workshop focused on China, which arguably poses the broadest array of cross-domain deterrence challenges to the United States.

Escape from Nuclear Deterrence: Lessons for Global Zero from the Strategic Defense Initiative

Dallas Boyd and James Scouras

Since the post-World War II genesis of nuclear deterrence, two presidential initiatives have been presented to deliver humanity from the threat of its failure. The first was the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), a constellation of space- and ground-based systems that President Ronald Reagan envisioned would render nuclear weapons “impotent and obsolete.” The second is President Barack Obama's roadmap to “a world without nuclear weapons,” commonly referred to as “Global Zero.” While these proposals appear to have little in common, deeper investigation reveals a number of provocative similarities in motivation and presentation. Moreover, both generated fierce debate, often with ideological overtones, about their strategic desirability and technical feasibility. We use these parallels, as well as prominent dissimilarities, to draw lessons from the SDI experience that can be applied to the debate over Global Zero.

Published in The Nonproliferation Review, Volume 20, Issue 2

Twentieth-Century Arms Control Policy May Fail in the Twenty-First

G. Peter Nanos Jr.

Beginning in the early 1980s, the central theme of U.S. diplomacy with the former Soviet Union and now Russia has been the mutual reduction of the overwhelming destructive capability of strategic arsenals as a means to reduce the primary threat to America. The record of accomplishment is impressive. Not only are the allowed force levels in the latest agreement dramatically lower than their Cold War peaks, the New START treaty continues and builds on protocols that have created unprecedented transparency and confidence. It is time to ask: What is the next step that will have the highest payoff in reducing the nuclear threat to America? Between the United States and Russia, where the strategic calculus is very well understood, further bilateral stockpile reductions in the near term will lead to only limited improvements in national security. Priority and resources should be shifted to understanding how to deal with the emerging realities of a multipolar nuclear world, where risks can be just as grave and the techniques for managing them are not as well understood.

Published in Comparative Strategy, Volume 31, Issue 4

The Dark Matter of Terrorism

Dallas Boyd and James Scouras

The consequences of states' reactions to terrorist attacks can far outweigh the effects of the attacks themselves. Yet risk analysis, widely accepted as the proper analytical basis for assessing terrorist threats, largely ignores the consequences from potential reactions to attacks. It also generally fails to consider how the anticipation of these reactions may influence terrorists' attack preferences. Policy makers should therefore be wary of the limitations of risk analysis as currently practiced. Further, states should strive to avoid reactions to attacks that unwittingly further their adversaries' agendas, a goal that may be aided by strengthening public resilience to terrorism.

Published in Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, Volume 33, Issue 12

Cover of THE NEW TRIAD: Diffusion, Illusion, and Confusion in the Nuclear Mission

The New Triad: Diffusion, Illusion, and Confusion in the Nuclear Mission

Michael J. Frankel, James Scouras, and George W. Ullrich

The New Triad, the Department of Defense's conceptual structure for strategic capabilities, is an impediment to clear thinking, communication, and consensus regarding nuclear issues. Its fatal flaw is the commingling of nuclear and conventional weapons, which lowers the nuclear threshold and undermines deterrence and stability. The vertices of the New Triad appear to represent little more than institutional interests intent on staking out equity, with the primary purpose of promoting the acquisition of controversial capabilities—missile defenses, conventional global strike, new nuclear warheads—rather than comprising the well thought out complementary components of an integrated system. Thus it lacks the intellectual coherence necessary to communicate nuclear policy to the public and to Congress. We recommend that the new Administration scrap the New Triad, divorce nuclear and conventional deterrence, and reserve nuclear weapons for deterring extreme threats and responding to extreme attacks from nuclear states for which no lesser military capabilities suffice.

Why Has the United States Not Been Attacked Again?

Dallas Boyd, Lewis A. Dunn, and James Scouras

The non-occurrence of a large-scale terrorist attack on the United States since 9/11 has been the subject of various explanations, chief among them that this outcome is the result of successful U.S. national and homeland security policies. Yet, this hypothesis ignores the myriad other factors that influence terrorist motivations to conduct attacks, as well as their capability to do so. This paper evaluates the competing explanations for the relative security the nation has enjoyed since 9/11, which are categorized into four bins emphasizing U.S. counterterrorism initiatives, limited terrorist capabilities, terrorist motivations, and alternative terrorist priorities. We conclude with recommendations related to the need for a better understanding of terrorist motivations and the need for broad-spectrum strategies that acknowledge our limited current understanding.

Published in The Washington Quarterly, Volume 32, Issue 3

Assessing Revolutionary and Insurgent Strategies (ARIS) Studies

The Assessing Revolutionary and Insurgent Strategies (ARIS) series consists of a set of case studies and research conducted for the U.S. Army Special Operations Command. The purpose of the ARIS series is to produce a collection of academically rigorous yet operationally relevant research materials to develop and illustrate a common understanding of insurgency and revolution. This research, intended to form a bedrock body of knowledge for members of the Special Forces, will allow users to distill vast amounts of material from a wide array of campaigns and extract relevant lessons, thereby enabling the development of future doctrine, professional education, and training.

The ARIS case studies are available on the United States Army Special Operations Command website.

Cover of Facing the Storms: Operationalizing Preparedness and Critical Infrastructure Resilience

Facing the Storms: Operationalizing Preparedness and Critical Infrastructure Resilience

Dane Egli, Study Team Lead

Making the nation’s infrastructure more resilient is crucial to protecting America from disasters and attacks; it is also vital to preserving America’s economic strength and global influence. Towards that end, this study introduces a practical framework for implementing resilience at all levels of government and the private sector.

The Beyond the Storms study established the need to transition as a nation from Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) to a Critical Infrastructure Resilience (CIR) posture. It also emphasized the necessity of community resiliency informed by local and regional planners as well as public-private partnerships. In response to mayors, business owners, and national-level policymakers—urgently preparing for future disasters—this follow-up study provides an organizing framework to mitigate hazards and improve preparedness through resiliency.

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Nuclear Futures Project

Duncan Brown and Thomas G. Mahnken

Over the past several years, there has been considerable debate over the future of the U.S. nuclear posture and of nuclear weapons more broadly. On the one side are arrayed those who argue that the United States should commit itself to eliminating nuclear weapons worldwide. Deployed opposite them are those who argue that nuclear weapons retain political and military utility for the US and others and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. To explore these arguments, the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) held a series of unclassified workshops to map the intellectual landscape regarding nuclear weapons by investigating their possible use, including as deterrents, in the context of specific crisis scenarios.

Cover of The China Relief Expedition: Joint Coalition Warfare in China, Summer 1900

The China Relief Expedition: Joint Coalition Warfare in China, Summer 1900

LTC(R) Robert R. Leonhard

This publication examines the multinational force that marched to rescue the besieged diplomatic legations in Peking. Operating within a foreign society in which friend and foe looked identical and cultural sensitivities were at the boiling point, the allied forces also had to deal with each other. Conflicting plans sprang from equally conflicting agendas. Comparisons and contrasts with operations in Iraq from 2003 to 2008 are remarkable. We have progressed beyond the ideologies and social context that led to the pillaging of Peking in 1900, but we have not completed the transition by solving the operational implications of democratic liberalism in war.

Cover of The Evolution of Strategy in the Global War on Terror

The Evolution of Strategy in the Global War on Terror

LTC(R) Robert R. Leonhard

This publication illustrates from the history of our Civil War how American strategy evolves and then extrapolates and suggests ways in which strategy in the global war on terror will likely evolve. Part One introduces the subject, and Part Two is an after-action report on a conference sponsored by APL. The goal is to show which aspects of the American strategy in the war on terror will probably change and how they will change, as well as provide some specific policy recommendations primarily developed from conference results.

Cover of The Collapse of North Korea: A Prospect to Celebrate or Fear?

The Collapse of North Korea: A Prospect to Celebrate or Fear?

Dr. Michael J. Deane

This short analysis seeks to identify the factors that led those studying North Korea in the late 1980s and early 1990s to forecast its collapse, the basic fallacies that led these predictions astray, and the ongoing prospects for a collapse in the future. From these perspectives, the work assesses whether a future collapse of North Korea is in the best interest of the United States.


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Event Summary from Inaugural National Health Symposium

APL has published the event summary for the inaugural National Health Symposium, which brought together more than 160 experts from government, academia and industry to discuss ways that advances in research and development can translate into better delivery of health care.

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