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The treatment of long-range, land-attack, sea-launched, and air-launched cruise missiles has been and will continue to be a major stumbling block in negotiations aimed at controlling strategic nuclear weapons. The existence of both conventional and nuclear variants is a frequently mentioned reason, since it is impossible to distinguish the two types except by close inspection. However, a more fundamental problem is that cruise missiles are carried by platforms — ships, submarines, and bombers — that have many important roles, mostly unrelated to nuclear capabilities, that are the subject of strategic nuclear arms control. This report examines options for controlling both air- and sea-launched cruise missiles within strategic arms control treaties. It assesses these options by the extent to which they provide easily verifiable limits on nuclear cruise missiles, allow substantial deployments of conventional cruise missiles, and avoid operational restrictions on conventional military forces.

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