Building Confidence During Peace and War

by Alan J. Vick

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Abstract

Confidence- and security-building measures (CBMs) are both unilateral and cooperative measures that might inhibit unintended escalation or improve the prospects that escalation, once begun, can be controlled or reversed in ways that minimize the risks of unwanted nuclear confrontation while protecting other vital national interests. This Note considers what effect CBMs might have on the achievement of U.S. objectives in situations of crisis or conflict. It examines the potential implications of CBMs both for policymakers' attempts to prevent unwanted escalation and the effective operation of U.S. forces during crisis or war. It identifies ways in which these measures might constrain U.S. options and operations during peacetime and crisis. Finally, it assesses the tradeoffs and evaluates the net utility of CBMs in achieving the collection of U.S. goals ranging from war avoidance to extended deterrence.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation note series. The note was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.

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