The nuclear portfolio could be focused on two different delivery systems: aircraft and submarines. Once removed from their nuclear mission, all Minuteman III missiles could be refitted with nonnuclear warheads to provide a valuable capability. Conversion of the ICBM force would go well beyond a limited niche capability to provide a strategic strike force useful in fighting wars large and small, as well as enhancing core strategic and extended deterrence.
America is embarked on a quest for a world without nuclear weapons, but we live in a world not yet safe from war and threats of war. Hence, for as long as nuclear weapons exist, the United States must maintain a safe, secure, and effective arsenal—both to deter potential adversaries and to assure US allies and other security partners that they can count on US security commitments. Our nuclear posture communicates to potential nuclear-armed adversaries that they cannot use nuclear threats to intimidate the United States, its allies, or partners or escalate their way out of failed conventional aggression.
Cost imposition strategies focus on eliciting an adversary response that creates a hardship differential favoring the initiating nation. There is new interest in cost-imposing strategies as the most beneficial element of the competitive spectrum. If applied against China, cost-imposing strategies can succeed when based on correct predictions of Chinese responses and accurate accounting for the monetary and other security costs involved. In the air domain, competition involving China’s ballistic and cruise missiles, surface-to-air missiles (SAM), and fighters offer the United States different degrees of advantage and hardship. Defense decision makers will find that cost imposition is not a panacea. They should understand the concept beyond its current level of misuse both for the disproportionate advantage it offers and for the liability it poses when used against America. To institutionalize the practice, the Department of Defense (DOD) should revive the competitive strategies structure and methods developed in the 1980s. Implementation will require overcoming institutional resistance, short time horizons, and significant fiscal constraints.
Recent incidents reveal cyberattacks are being employed and honed in a systematic, coordinated fashion to achieve the objectives of malicious actors. Deterrence of the wide array of actors in cyberspace is difficult, since deterrence has to work in the mind of the attacker. Each attacker will weigh the effort of the attack against the expected benefit under their own criteria or rationality. This article analyzes whether the contemporary and complementary deterrence strategies of retaliation, denial, and entanglement are sufficient to deter malicious cyber actors or if the alternative of active cyberdefense is necessary and viable.
As with many international crises, the solution to space debris is far more complicated than the circumstances that created it. A host of legal, political, and technical considerations persist in making space debris a topic of frustration. It remains a growing problem that encourages greater utilization of technology and personal responsibility among agencies the world over. While attempts at debris mitigation are critical to positively impact long-term sources of debris, such limited attempts do not offer a solution to the wider problem.
This article offers an alternative framework for understanding the sources of national security and power online. Wide-scale deployment of cyberweaponry regularly occurs beyond the scope of direct attacks on the infrastructure of national security and has a real effect on the power potential of states in the international system. Though the threat of cyberattack is a potent one, the greater impact on state power stems from the long-term disruption and distortion of the national innovation economy. The integration of civil and industrial functions with network systems allows for unprecedented levels of access to those second-order processes that underwrite national innovative potential and, ultimately, national power. A disruption to this underlying national apparatus via persistent, intrusive computer network exploitations (CNE) could diminish the innovative growth potential of sovereign actors in international affairs along several lines and essentially produce a power potential deficit that would not otherwise have existed.
Recent psychological research has shown that experiencing fear, if people believe they have some control over the source of the fear, reduces their tolerance for risk. Leaders who experience fear of imminent nuclear war thereafter tend to reject these risky policies. Indeed, experiencing the fear of imminent nuclear war will cause leaders to avoid calculated and uncalculated risks. While the United States should work toward a comprehensive solution with Iran, using force would be not only risky but also counterproductive. If Iran developed the bomb, the use of force would be much less likely to succeed than the simplest policy of all: allowing Iranian political leaders to stop this behavior on their own.