REDUCTIONS WITHOUT REGRET: DEFINING THE NEEDED CAPABILITIES

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This is the second of three papers (in addition to an introductory summary) aimed at providing a framework for evaluating future reductions or modifications of the U.S. nuclear force, first by considering previous instances in which nuclear-force capabilities were eliminated; second by looking forward into at least the foreseeable future at the features of global and regional deterrence (recognizing that new weapon systems currently projected will have expected lifetimes stretching beyond our ability to predict the future); and third by providing examples of past or possible undesirable outcomes in the shaping of the future nuclear force, as well as some ... continued below

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Swegle, J. & Tincher, D. September 10, 2013.

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Description

This is the second of three papers (in addition to an introductory summary) aimed at providing a framework for evaluating future reductions or modifications of the U.S. nuclear force, first by considering previous instances in which nuclear-force capabilities were eliminated; second by looking forward into at least the foreseeable future at the features of global and regional deterrence (recognizing that new weapon systems currently projected will have expected lifetimes stretching beyond our ability to predict the future); and third by providing examples of past or possible undesirable outcomes in the shaping of the future nuclear force, as well as some closing thoughts for the future. This paper begins with a discussion of the current nuclear force and the plans and procurement programs for the modernization of that force. Current weapon systems and warheads were conceived and built decades ago, and procurement programs have begun for the modernization or replacement of major elements of the nuclear force: the heavy bomber, the air-launched cruise missile, the ICBMs, and the ballistic-missile submarines. In addition, the Nuclear Weapons Council has approved a new framework for nuclear-warhead life extension � not fully fleshed out yet � that aims to reduce the current number of nuclear explosives from seven to five, the so-called �3+2� vision. This vision includes three interoperable warheads for both ICBMs and SLBMs (thus eliminating one backup weapon) and two warheads for aircraft delivery (one gravity bomb and one cruise-missile, eliminating a second backup gravity bomb). This paper also includes a discussion of the current and near-term nuclear-deterrence mission, both global and regional, and offers some observations on future of the strategic deterrence mission and the challenges of regional and extended nuclear deterrence.

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  • Report No.: SRNL-STI-2013-00552
  • Grant Number: DE-AC09-08SR22470
  • DOI: 10.2172/1092930 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1092930
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc841184

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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.

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  • September 10, 2013

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • May 19, 2016, 9:45 a.m.

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  • Dec. 12, 2016, 12:59 p.m.

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Swegle, J. & Tincher, D. REDUCTIONS WITHOUT REGRET: DEFINING THE NEEDED CAPABILITIES, report, September 10, 2013; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc841184/: accessed December 12, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.