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Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on Nuclear Deterrence Skills

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Final rept.

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The Defense Science Board Task Force on Nuclear Deterrence Skills was chartered to assess all aspects of nuclear deterrent skills military, federal, and contractor and to recommended methods and strategies to maintain a right-sized, properly trained, and experienced work force to ensure the viability of the U.S. nuclear deterrent through 2020. As long as anyone in the world has or can acquire nuclear weapons, America must have nuclear deterrence expertise competent to avoid strategic surprise and respond to present and future challenges. There are many kinds of threats that demand national leadership, but no threat can put the nations existence at risk as quickly and as chillingly as nuclear weapons. To say this is not to dismiss the seriousness of other threats. It simply acknowledges that since the dawn of the nuclear age, security from nuclear attack has been in a class of its own, and major national decisions on nuclear deterrence issues have been reserved for the President of the United States. Nuclear deterrence expertise is uniquely demanding. It cannot be acquired overnight or on the fly. It resides in a highly classified environment mandated by law, it crosses a number of disciplines and skills, and it involves implicit as well as explicit knowledge. Nuclear weapons expertise is necessary to design and build nuclear weapons, to plan and operate nuclear forces, and to design defense against nuclear attack. It is also necessary to analyze and understand foreign nuclear weapons programs, devise nuclear policies and strategies, deal with allies who depend on the American nuclear umbrella, prevent and counter nuclear proliferation, defeat nuclear terrorism, and in the event that a nuclear detonation takes place by accident or cold, hostile intent cope with the catastrophic consequences.

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  • Nuclear Weapons

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