Deep Cuts Working Paper #6 The Offense/Defense Problem

Abstract

Since Barack Obama’s start of the U.S. presidency, America faces a conundrum: how can the United States at once reassure its allies and partners by demonstrating the potency of its unrivalled conventional superiority without unsetting the very strategic stability it asserts is so central to achieving the goal of a nuclear weapons-free world? In particular, there are a number of impediments standing in the way of adequately addressing America’s conventional advantages vis-à-vis Russia and China. Above all, it has always been a sacrosanct principle of U.S. strategic planning that the United States will pursue achieving and maintaining technological superiority.

This paper by Dennis M. Gormley addresses the difficult question of how missile defense and conventional precision-guided weapons complicate achieving deep cuts in nuclear weapons - particularly with a view to the strategic relationships to Russia and China.

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About the Author

Dennis M. Gormley is a Senior Lecturer at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Pittsburgh and served for ten years in the U.S. intelligence community.