Accession Number:



Report on Scenario-Based Planning to Maintain the Credibility of the U.S. Nuclear Deterrent Against Emerging Threats

Descriptive Note:

Technical Report

Corporate Author:

Threat Reduction Advisory Committee (TRAC) Fort Belvoir United States

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



The TRAC Task Force on Scenario-Based Planning to Maintain the Credibility of the U.S. Nuclear Deterrent Against Emerging Threats was established by the Terms of Reference of 4 September 2018, signed out by the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment. In accordance with the Terms of Reference, this Report was submitted to the full TRAC for review and deliberation and was approved by consensus. This report includes an analysis of the role of assessments, models, simulations, gaming, and exercises in exploring the changing strengths and weaknesses in the nuclear deterrence posture of the United States. In particular, the report looks at quantitative and qualitative attributes of deterrence, challenging scenarios that may be created in the years ahead by geopolitical or technological change, and current and emerging tools that may help assess strengths and weaknesses in specific contexts. In addition to Findings and Recommendations, an expansion of the central sections of the Report, included as Annex A, can serve as a Primer on issues related to nuclear deterrence. This Primer also provides a foundation for analysis, modeling, simulation, and war gaming related to nuclear deterrence. Together with the body of this TRAC Report, this Primer helps support the continuing need to convey the key aspects of nuclear deterrence in todays strategic setting to all parts of the Department of Defense and to other audiences including Members of Congress, their staffs and the general public. Furthermore, a set of initiatives is provided to address integration and acquisition of DoD-wide modeling, simulation, and gaming tools. These points were added to be responsive in a timely manner to issues of immediate interest to the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
  • Government and Political Science

Distribution Statement: