The Bush Administration has outlined a strategy of "tailored deterrence" to define the role that nuclear weapons play in U.S. national security policy. There has been little discussion of this concept, either in Congress or in the public at large. This leaves unanswered questions about how this strategy differs from U.S. nuclear strategy during the Cold War and how it might advise decisions about the size and structure of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. Throughout the Cold War, the United States relied on nuclear weapons to deter an attack by the Soviet Union and its allies and to forestall the outbreak of a global war between the United States and the Soviet Union. However, the broad Cold War-era agreement about the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. security policy began to dissolve during the 1990s, after the demise of the Soviet Union. Further, in response to emerging threats to U.S. national security, the Bush Administration has argued that the United States must alter its deterrence strategy "from 'one size fits all' deterrence to tailored deterrence for rogue powers, terrorist networks, and near-peer competitors." During the Cold War, the United States often modified, or tailored, its nuclear targeting doctrine, its nuclear weapons employment policy, and its nuclear force structure to enhance or maintain the credibility of its nuclear deterrent posture. In some ways, the Bush Administration's concept of tailored deterrence follows the same pattern, using assessments of an adversary's society and values to identify a range of targets that might be threatened, and adjusting U.S. war plans and force structure to enhance the credibility of U.S. threats to destroy these targets. However, tailored deterrence differs from Cold War deterrence in that it explicitly notes that U.S. nuclear weapons could be used in attacks against a number of nations that might have developed and deployed chemical and biological weapons, even if they did not possess nuclear weapons.
"December 30, 2008."
Bibliography, etc. Note
Includes bibliographical references.
Formatted Contents Note
Nuclear weapons in U.S. national security policy Defining deterrence Issues for Congress.
Digital File Characteristics
text file PDF
System Details Note
Mode of access: Internet. System requirements: Adobe Reader.