Cover: How relevant is nuclear strategy?: a primer for heretics

How relevant is nuclear strategy?: a primer for heretics

Published 1985

by Glenn Buchan

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In order to determine the importance of nuclear strategy in formulating policy, this paper reviews the evolution of Western nuclear strategy, presents arguments against its usefulness in making decisions about weapon systems, and examines three contemporary policy issues in which the concepts of nuclear strategy have been either largely ignored or misapplied: the nuclear freeze, MX and ICBM survivability, and the Strategic Defense Initiative, or "Star Wars." The author suggests that analysts and policymakers alike should spend less time worrying about conceptual nuclear strategy and more time understanding the technical, military, and political costs and benefits of proposed nuclear weapons systems.

This report is part of the RAND paper series. The paper was a product of RAND from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

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