De-alerting of U.S. nuclear forces: a critical appraisal

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Since the end of the Cold War, there have been pressures by disarmament advocates to move more quickly to draw down, toward zero, the number of nuclear weapons in U.S. and Russian arsenals. They criticize the process of negotiating arms control agreements as being too slow, and point out that treaty implementation is hampered by the necessity of ratification by the U.S. Senate and Russian Duma. One method of moving more rapidly toward nuclear abolition suggested by some analysts is de-alerting of nuclear-weapon delivery systems. De-alerting is defined as taking steps that increase significantly the time required to launch a ... continued below

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387 Kilobytes

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Bailey, K. C. & Barish, F. August 21, 1998.

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Description

Since the end of the Cold War, there have been pressures by disarmament advocates to move more quickly to draw down, toward zero, the number of nuclear weapons in U.S. and Russian arsenals. They criticize the process of negotiating arms control agreements as being too slow, and point out that treaty implementation is hampered by the necessity of ratification by the U.S. Senate and Russian Duma. One method of moving more rapidly toward nuclear abolition suggested by some analysts is de-alerting of nuclear-weapon delivery systems. De-alerting is defined as taking steps that increase significantly the time required to launch a given delivery vehicle armed with a nuclear warhead. Although there is little inclination by the U.S. Government to de-alert its nuclear forces at present, some academic literature and press stories continue to advocate such steps. This paper offers a critique of de-alerting proposals together with an assessment of the dangers of accidental, unauthorized, or unintended use of nuclear weapons. It concludes that de-alerting nuclear forces would be extremely de-stabilizing, principally because it would increase the value to an opponent of launching a first strike.

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387 Kilobytes

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  • Other: DE00002433
  • Report No.: UCRL-LR-132030
  • Grant Number: W-7405-Eng-48
  • DOI: 10.2172/2433 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 2433
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc667629

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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  • August 21, 1998

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • June 29, 2015, 9:42 p.m.

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  • May 16, 2016, 11:18 a.m.

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Bailey, K. C. & Barish, F. De-alerting of U.S. nuclear forces: a critical appraisal, report, August 21, 1998; Livermore, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc667629/: accessed October 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.