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The United States today faces a more diverse set of potential threats than it did during the Cold War. This change calls for new thinking about the role of nuclear forces in U.S. national security policy. RAND Project AIR FORCE examined strategies and force postures that the United States could adopt to make the most effective use of its nuclear forces in an uncertain world. Researchers observe that the need for the United States to retain nuclear weapons is much less compelling than in the past, that a much smaller nuclear force could fulfill all U.S. political and military needs, and that reducing the risk of nuclear war due to accidents or mistakes is even more important today than before.

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