Accession Number:



A Modern Theory of Nuclear Deterrence: Understanding 21st Century US Nuclear Posture Requirements.

Descriptive Note:

[Technical Report, Monograph]

Corporate Author:

US Army School for Advanced Military Studies

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



This monograph explores modern ideas on nuclear deterrence by reviewing, assessing, and synthesizing the history of nuclear strategic thought. A historical review of deterrence reveals nuclear deterrence theory to be obscure. By synthesizing mainstream strategic logic, the author offers a concise, general theory of nuclear deterrence. This theory highlights adaptability as a defining requisite for the nuclear force posture. Nuclear force characteristics that serve adaptability include survivability, suitable range, ability to forward deploy, prompt response capability, variable payloads, assorted weapon yields, and high delivery accuracy. These characteristics are then used as an assessment framework for the present and planned US nuclear posture.


Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
  • Nuclear Weapons

Distribution Statement:

[A, Approved For Public Release]