The United States and Russia have made major reductions in their long-range nuclear forces since the end of the Cold War. These reductions should be welcome, but are less than one might expect and hope for, given that the Cold War is over. The recent New START treaty calls for a modest additional reduction for the nuclear superpowers, but leaves the two arsenals with essentially the same Cold War structure on a smaller scale. Truly significant further reductions in numbers and nuclear dangers will require a new attitude toward the role of nuclear weapons.

In his paper, Ivan Oelrich focuses on three aspects of U.S. strategic forces: first their current status, then the doctrine and policy that guide their potential use, plans for the next generation of weapons, and finally, some recommendations about what is required to move toward deep reductions in nuclear forces.

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About the Author

Ivan Oelrich is an independent analyst. He has been an adjunct professor at Princeton University, Georgetown University, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Hamburg, and now The George Washington University.