American Nuclear Strategy

A Selective Analytic Survey of Threat Concepts for Deterrence and Compellence

by Michael Wab Kanzelberger


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Surveys analytically selected nuclear strategies proffered in the unclassified literature since World War II. Types and subtypes of strategies are identified and analyzed on the basis of the threat concepts that underpin them and the targeting schemes that back them up. Entries are catalogued according to whether the implied threat promises to punish, deny, or compel adversary actions, roughly in order of the amount of destruction suggested by the accompanying target plan, from greatest to least intended trauma. Each entry is then followed by one or more abstracts of selected works seminal to, or representative of, that particular variant, highlighting assumptions about the relationship of the threat design to U.S. political objectives and tracing the implications carried in the event that the weapons must be used.

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