Accession Number:



Future Offensive Capabilities for Low-Yield Nuclear Deterrence

Descriptive Note:

[Technical Report, Monograph]

Corporate Author:

US Army School for Advanced Military Studies

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



The return of great power competition and increasing tension with China and Russia is forcing the Unites States to expand its deterrent capabilities. Recent attempts by both states to seize new territory destabilizes their respective regions and US coalition partners are reliant on the US to deter any future attempts. Reduced troop numbers and the extended range from the continental United States combined with improvements in Russian and Chinese anti-access area denial A2AD weapons increase the risk to service members and to regional stability should a conflict escalate. Lack of US decisive response capability leaves a gap that China and Russia can exploit to achieve rapid and decisive victory in a regional location. There is a capability gap in available US response options before escalation to strategic nuclear weapons. Russia and China both possess low-yield battlefield nuclear weapons LYBNW that can be utilized to disrupt, defeat, or destroy US forces and enable follow on maneuver. The United States needs to expand its available arsenal to include additional capabilities that increase the cost to each nation should they attempt to escalate. Neither country is the same and each requires a unique operational approach and combination of forces and technology. However, the ability to provide a rapid and decisive response is essential to achieving deterrence and assuring safety among regional partners.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
  • Nuclear Weapons
  • Countermeasures

Distribution Statement:

[A, Approved For Public Release]