Time for a Systematic Analysis: U.S. Nuclear Weapons and Nuclear Proliferation

By Christopher F. Chyba

The 2008 National Defense Authorization Act requires the next secretary of defense, in consultation with the secretaries of energy and state, to conduct a comprehensive review of the nuclear weapons posture of the United States.

The review must consider the role of nuclear forces in U.S. military strategy; requirements and objectives for deterrence; the relationship among nuclear deterrence, targeting strategy, and arms control objectives; the role of missile defense and conventional strike weapons; the levels and composition of nuclear delivery systems; the required nuclear weapons complex; and the active and inactive nuclear weapons stockpile, including plans for replacing or modifying warheads.

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