Cover: Nuclear Deterrence in Europe

Nuclear Deterrence in Europe

Russian Approaches to a New Environment and Implications for the United States

Published Aug 18, 2011

by James T. Quinlivan, Olga Oliker


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The United States and Russia no longer face each other as perpetual adversaries in a conflict of political ideology. However, as in the Cold War, Europe continues to be a key focus of possible contention between these powers, and, as in the Cold War, nuclear weapons have a role in how claimed interests might be defended within an overall deterrent framework. Through a variety of policies and actions — and most recently in a new military doctrine adopted in February 2010 — Russia has indicated the types of situations that might cause it to resort to using nuclear weapons. This monograph examines the elements of Russia's emerging deterrent framework: Russia's statements of claimed interests, its force development and posture, its military doctrine and practice, major military exercises it has conducted, and, importantly, whether Russia's highest political authorities have endorsed these military doctrines and exercises. The authors discuss the implications of Russia's evolving deterrence doctrine for U.S. military operations in Europe, particularly for the U.S. Air Force.

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The research reported here was sponsored by the United States Air Force and conducted by RAND Project AIR FORCE.

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