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Avoiding Armageddon: The US Military's Response to Trans-Regional Nuclear Proliferation in a Post-Soviet World

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Technical Report,05 Jul 2015,26 May 2016

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US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

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Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, black markets for nuclear material rapidly expanded and proliferation by both state and non-state actors soared. The Department of Defense began a lengthy process of creating mechanisms to address the proliferation through what ultimately became a strategic comprised of three pillars nonproliferation, counterproliferation, and consequence management. The Department of Defense ultimately achieved unity of command by enforcing organizational changes within the department, establishing a new functional combatant command with a sub-unified command that maintains responsibility for integrating and synchronizing plans and operations to counter proliferation, and by establishing contingency plans to address known proliferation events. By studying strategic documents, operations plans, unified command plans, and organizational histories, the author determined that key to counterproliferation has been unity of command. While unity of command was not immediate, the department did achieve unity of effort early, which mitigated serious consequences.

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