Nonnuclear strategic weapons: implications for arms control policy

by Alan Platt, Alan J. Vick

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The future acquisition of nonnuclear strategic weapons (NNSW) is likely to have profound consequences for a wide range of U.S. foreign and defense policy issues. This paper examines the implications of NNSW acquisition for arms control policy, focusing on the most salient technological, strategic, and political considerations associated with this weaponry. It considers separately the near term (roughly the next decade), and the long run. The analysis suggests that in the short term, definitional problems and verification uncertainties surrounding dual-capable systems will become increasingly significant and will have important implications for U.S. arms control policy. In the long run, three issues--the political impact of nonnuclear strategic weapons, actions taken by the Soviets, and the relationship between NNSW and other weapons systems--will be critical.

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