March Issue, Arms Control Today: "Deter and Downsize: A Paradigm Shift for Nuclear Arms Control"

By Justin Anderson and Darci McDonald

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Nuclear arms control needs a new paradigm. The current approach, focused on deployed strategic nuclear “delivery vehicles”—long-range bombers, nuclear ballistic missile submarines, and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), together often referenced as the nuclear triad—was forged during a Cold War standoff between two heavily armed superpower rivals, the United States and the Soviet Union. 

This approach deserves recognition for playing an important role in limiting and ultimately contributing to the reduction of their respective deployed nuclear forces, but it is unable to address the nuclear competition within the present geostrategic environment, where multiple states view nuclear forces as critically important to their long-term security. If nuclear arms control is to play a key role in preventing friction between nuclear powers and reducing nuclear risks in the 21st century, there needs to be a shift in focus and an expansion in participants. READ MORE>>