A conceptual framework for a national strategy on nuclear arms

by Carl H. Builder

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This essay proposes a national strategy for nuclear arms. It argues for new ways of thinking about why we possess nuclear arms and how we should plan for their control and use. The arguments are developed within a conceptual framework composed of three national security dimensions: (1) the goals supported by the possession or use of nuclear weapons, (2) the immediate objectives of our postures, and (3) the perceived proximity of conflicts. The formulation of logical strategy domains within this framework reveals some opportunities that have been historically neglected in U.S. nuclear arms policies. In particular, the essay suggests that our arms control efforts should be reoriented toward limiting theater forces and encouraging strategic defenses.

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