Assessing Possible Improvements in NATO's Non-Strategic Nuclear Deterrence Forces
Naval Postgraduate School Monterey United States
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Given Moscows revanchist foreign policy, its willingness to use military force to achieve its goals, and its annexation of Crimea in 2014, the strategic threat Russia presents to NATOs Allies in the Baltic region has become acute. The Alliance must find a means to deter Moscow from attempting a similar action in the former Soviet Baltic republics that are now NATO member states. This thesis has identified regional nuclear deterrence as the best means of addressing this threat, and it has answered the question How, and to what extent, would the addition of U.S. sea- and ground-based non-strategic nuclear weapons strengthen the Alliances deterrence and defense posture in Europe Through a qualitative analysis of NATOs nuclear deterrence posture in Europe in the light of new challenges, including Russian air defenses, this thesis has found that the addition of a nuclear-capable cruise missile such as the Nuclear Tomahawk Land Attack Missile TLAM-N, deployed on surface ships, would be an effective short-term solution to this problem and would be consistent with the Navys distributed lethality concept for surface ships. Moreover, to enhance the Alliances long-term regional deterrent, a short-range ground-based dual-capable ballistic missile could usefully complement the TLAM-N.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
- Antimissile Defense Systems