Fatality Uncertainties in Limited Nuclear War

by Bruce W. Bennett

Download

Download Free Electronic Document

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 1.1 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.

Purchase

Purchase Print Copy

 FormatList Price Price
Add to Cart Paperback20 pages $20.00 $16.00 20% Web Discount

Presents counterarguments to the article "Limited Nuclear War," by S. D. Drell and F. von Hippel, [Scientific American], November 1976. The article concludes that any Soviet limited counterforce attack, if strategically effective, would inflict very high fatality levels; and because the USSR is not pondering such attacks, the United States should not inflame the situation by building up flexible counterforce capabilities as recommended by Secretary of Defense Schlesinger in 1974. The report argues that Drell and von Hippel neglect the importance of the assumptions underlying attack scenarios and the wide-ranging effects of uncertainty on fatality calculations. Using RAND's new SNAPPER model for assessing nuclear damage, the report concludes that the USSR could launch potentially effective limited counterforce attacks while causing only a one to three million U.S. fatalities, exactly the range suggested by Schlesinger. It therefore would be unwise to dismiss such attacks from the realm of possibility.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Report series. The report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1993 that represented the principal publication documenting and transmitting RAND's major research findings and final research.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit www.rand.org/pubs/permissions.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.