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The Intermediate Nuclear Force (INF) Treaty and its aftermath have not simply returned NATO to a world without ground-launched cruise missiles, the Pershing II, and the SS-20, but have crystallized and reinforced long-standing questions about the credibility of NATO's strategy of flexible response, the appropriate role of theater nuclear weapons in the future, and the prospects for continued U.S. leadership of the Alliance. These issues come together in a consideration of whether and how NATO should modernize its remaining nuclear forces. This Note analyzes different ways in which NATO can respond to the nuclear requirements that flow from its strategy. It considers how INF Treaty constraints and prospective Strategic Arms Reduction Talks limits, as well as the special place and concerns of the Federal Republic of Germany, bear on the various possibilities. It also assesses the implications of different choices for Alliance cohesion, U.S. leadership of NATO, and extended deterrence. On the basis of that analysis, it describes an approach to NATO nuclear modernization and arms control.

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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