Analysis / Forces, Strategy

The Conventional Force Perspective: Nuclear Integration in Doctrine, Concepts, and Exercises

International Security at the Nuclear Nexus Series

While there should be continued debate of the normative merits or dangers of CNI, this article focuses on the issue from the perspective of the conventional force and highlights some important steps that would have to be taken if CNI is to work more fully with conventional forces. Specifically, nuclear planning would need to be more clearly present and detailed in high-level military doctrine, concepts, and large-scale exercises. This is no small undertaking, particularly for exercises, and poses many potential risks and trade-offs that merit careful consideration by decisionmakers. 

What would detailed conventional nuclear integration in doctrine, concepts, and large-scale exercises look like? Joint concepts inform high-level military doctrine, which in turn provides guidance on what the military should aim to achieve through planning and training in large-scale exercises. If the Department of Defense desires to pursue CNI as a policy goal, then nuclear planning would be expected to make an appearance in doctrine, concepts, and exercises.

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(Photo Credit: Jordan R. Beesley, U.S. Navy)

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Adam Saxton and Mark Cancian, "The Conventional Force Perspective: Nuclear Integration in Doctrine, Concepts, and Exercises," Center for Strategic and International Studies, October 8, 2020, last modified October 8, 2020, https://defense360.csis.org/the-conventional-force-perspective-nuclear-integration-in-doctrine-concepts-and-exercises/.