The United States Air Force Institute for National Security Studies (NSS) is a strategic policy research institute located within the faculty at the U.S. Air Force Academy.
NSS serves as a focus for research related to strategic studies, emphasizing enduring and emerging strategic issues, global and regional strategic challenges, nuclear deterrence and arms control, strategic stability, and sustaining particularly the human infrastructure necessary to ensure long-term strategic security.
Under the Academy’s latest Broad Agency Announcement (BAA), NSS seeks proposals for efforts to increase the policy-relevant understanding of the roots, contemporary manifestations, and policy implications of national characterizations of strategic stability by each of the major and regional nuclear powers.
The goal of this funding area is to further develop understanding of the dynamics among major power characterizations of strategic stability as they shape the strategic environment for U.S. policy and posture; and to also develop an understanding of the key regional dynamics of multiple nations’ characterizations of strategic stability as the central context for redefined strategic relationships among nuclear powers and within the regions within which those powers and strategic allies reside.
The 2010 Nuclear Posture Review places strategic stability at the heart of the US-Russia and the US-China relationships today. However, those strategic relationships have fundamentally changed, and while there is still concern over the numbers and capabilities associated with the Russian and the Chinese nuclear forces, today the emphasis is shifting to avoiding tension and building a transparent, predictable, and positive set of relationships beyond just the nuclear balances.
Strategic stability now must be redefined around a qualitative construct within these strategic relationships, plus there are at least six additional nuclear states—allies and friends, states of concern, adversaries—that complete the complex and dynamic nuclear landscape today. Our understanding of strategic stability requires a review and update.
“The departure point for this research focus is a belief that much of the thinking about today’s United States strategic policy has been heavily dependent on straight-line evolution from Cold War concepts, and that this foundation has been updated almost solely based on primarily technical considerations and current geopolitical issues,” states the announcement. “It is thus reactive to a relatively incomplete understanding of fundamental national worldviews and the factors that shape basic strategic decisions among the nuclear states.”
Further details are available via Solicitation Number: USAFA-BAA-2015. The BAA remains open until superseded. White papers and proposals are reviewed and evaluated as they are received and may be submitted at any time.