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Deterring, Countering, and Defeating Conventional-Nuclear Integration

Ground-based Interceptor is launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., during a test on March 25, 2019. Photo: Lisa Simunaci, Missile Defense Agency

The goal of U.S. conventional-nuclear integration (CNI) is to convince potential adversaries that integrating conventional and nuclear-capable forces grants insufficient advantages within a future regional conflict to overcome either the latter’s potential vulnerabilities or the risks attendant with attempting to leverage nuclear escalation.

It is important for the Department of Defense to bolster US and allied deterrence postures in Europe and the Asia-Pacific by taking steps—prior to any regional crisis—to influence their cost-benefit calculus in contemplating the deployment or employment of nuclear weapons in theater. This article proposes a three-part framework using the Department of Defense’s Deterrence Operations – Joint Operating Concept (deny benefits, impose costs, and encourage restraint) to plan and posture for accomplishing this goal.

Read more at Strategic Studies Quarterly.

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