The Biden administration will face early decision points regarding the modernization of critical elements of the U.S. nuclear weapons enterprise in an environment buffeted by competing forces and pressures.
In this brief, the authors discuss a strategy that they have labeled the Minimal Exposure Strategy. The strategy’s core premise is that the United States is largely secure from military threats due to continental U.S. geography and the deterrent quality of its nuclear and other strategic capabilities.
In this brief, the authors explore a defense approach they have labeled the Progressive Values Strategy. The strategy is grounded in a view that the military instrument is not well suited to meeting many of the security challenges facing the United States. It focuses on achieving a level of military sufficiency that deters adventurism by others—as well as itself.
The Trump administration released a new presidential memorandum on August 20, 2019, that details its new policy on the “Launch of Spacecraft Containing Space Nuclear Systems.” From the title, some may assume this policy concerns the placement of nuclear weapons in space, which would violate the Outer Space Treaty, but in fact, it is a move to restructure how the U.S. government regulates and approves space-based nuclear power systems—particularly nuclear propulsion systems.