Nuclear Deterrence: Concepts and Risks

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2019-63-12-50-55

V. Dvorkin (,
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation

Acknowledgements. The article is prepared in the framework of the research “Formation of Policentric World Order: Risks and Opportunities for Russia” of the program of the Russian Academy of Sciences 19-268 “Great Challenges and Scientific Basis of Forecasting and Strategic Planning”.

Abstract. Among the existing forms of exchange of massive nuclear strikes between strategic nuclear forces of Russia and the United States (first disarming, launch-on-warning, and retaliation strikes), launch-on-warning is the one that poses the biggest risk. The decision to carry out this type of strike can be made within a few minutes based on data from an early warning system. Since there is no way to completely rule out the possibility of errors in generation of that data, the main focus in the concept of nuclear deterrence should be made on the retaliation strike. This strike posture has always been used as a rationale for the composition of Strategic Rocket Force and Navy forces which focus on ensuring that weapons can survive a disarmament first strike from a potential adversary. This would allow more time for decision-making regarding the use of nuclear forces; therefore, due to the increased vulnerability of informational systems, the principles of a retaliation strike should be given more attention in planning operations involving strategic nuclear forces. Early warning systems should be used first and foremost for the global monitoring of missile and carrier rocket launches, i.e. monitoring accidental (unintended) and provocative missile launches, as well as for assessing nations’ compliance with the Missile Technology Control Regime.

Keywords: types of massive nuclear strikes, launch-on-warning strike, early warning systems, decision-making time


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For citation:
Dvorkin V. Nuclear Deterrence: Concepts and Risks. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2019, vol. 63, no. 12, pp. 50-55.

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