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Freedman, Evolution of Nuclear Strategy

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Lawrence Freedman, Evolution of Nuclear Strategy

- Nukes rescued strategic bombardment; AF lukewarm to ICBMS (accuracy, reliability, cost)

- Axioms of nuke age: no defense, vulnerability of cities, attraction of surprise, necessity for retaliation cape

- Eisenhower Massive Retaliation – respond to any Communist aggression with massive nuke strike

- New Look – no response to conventional Soviet invasion; raise stakes with nukes; NATO strategy

- Preventive War – Strike before strategic shift in military balance; Pre-emptive War – he’s on verge of attack

- The Threat that Leaves Something to Chance – final decision is not altogether in the threatener’s control

- Brinkmanship – deliberate creation of risk of war; create intolerable situation and lead to accommodation

- Counter-force – attacking military targets; Counter-value – attacking civilian targets (Assured Destruction)

- US city-avoidance/counter-force focus; Soviets fear preventive strike, have no counter force cape; Cuba

- Flexible Response – balanced conventional and nuke response to all levels of aggression

- MAD – stable balance of terror

Freedman, The Evolution of Nuclear Strategy (Gloves notes) / because nukes are so disproportionate, they encourage the status quo xiv / strategy definition needlessly tied to military means xviii / did the whole of society truly become intimately involved in war (1914-8)? 3 / another use of the limited definition of strategy – “independent means to the strategic end of enemy defeat” 5 / propaganda role of strategic bombardment 6 / morale fallacies – change in attitude = change in behavior, and mass activism could change the government 9 / atomic bombs developed to be just another weapon 15 / but it had implications and ramifications well beyond 15 / atom bombs made airpower come of age 21 / AF identity was the heavy bomber 22 / missiles threatened the heavy bomber 23 / first strike more important as defense improves 31/ assumption of nuclear blitzkrieg 32-3 / “aggression” got a black eye after WWI 35 / war=irrational act, so aggressors must be irrational and subject not to negotiation but to punishment 35 / reprisal in kind seemed the best deterrent to nuke attack 38 / atomic war required a large standing army, according to Brodie, because there wouldn’t be time to draft one before Armageddon 41 / basic axioms of nuclear age – can’t defend, hopeless vulnerability, attractive first strike, essential second strike capes 42 / Navy and distance formed US defense; time allowed the slumbering giant to awaken 45 / airpower and nukes fit strategy, plus impatience and technophilia 46 / pre-nuke, AF said USSR was too big and resilient for strategic bombing to work 47 / Berlin crisis revealed US intent for use of atomic bombs in combat operations 50 / plan: strategic attacks against Soviet industry should cripple Soviet military capabilities 52 / early concern over political ramifications 53 / Soviet thinking differed from Western thought – rigid determinism with tactical flexibility 54 / Soviet prejudices favored size and quantity 56 / Soviet nuke test in 1949 meant no more US monopoly 60 / the result was expanded research into more destructive atomic weapons 61 / many influential scientists impotently opposed this 63-4 / research into tactical nukes as supplements to the strategy of massive nuclear bombardment 64-5 / State Department assessment of threat, NSC-68, said more nukes were essential until conventional forces grew significantly 66-7 / Korea showed how nukes on both sides resulted in political restraint 68 / NATO’s Forward Strategy said to hold Soviets close to original lines 71 / no way to conduct the Forward Strategy with nukes, so had to build more conventional forces 71 / Ike tossed out Truman’s ideas and introduced “massive retaliation” as an indicator of greater likelihood of nuclear employment 72 / nuclear weapons at tactical levels popular with CJCS in 1953 73 / economics made nukes cheaper than the large counterforce required by Soviet buildup 74 / Britain led the way in a strategy dominated by nuclear weapons 74-6 / New Look needed a strong retaliatory capability, forces ready to move and hold, a mobilization base able to win an attrition campaign, and allies 77 / New Look included expectations that eventually nuclear parity would make the resort to nukes again distinct from conventional arms 78-9 / part of policy is brinkmanship - you won’t know what will push us over the edge 82 / credibility problem: retaliation results in unconscionable pain on both sides 84 / NATO forces are a tripwire to nuclear escalation 85 / in the mid-50s, the central element of Western strategic thought was how to avoid having to make the choice between red and dead 90 / political context – USSR deemed aggressive, incorrigible, and ravenous 90-91 / tac nukes generate questions of their own 92 / limited war requires conceptualizing accommodation (and trust, 95), which was anathema in the 50s 92-93 / challenge to massive retaliation – history shows the US unlikely to go there, and if you don't, and don't, and don't, then USSR assumes you won't ever 96 / as a result, US must maintain a conventional capability to handle limited wars 96-97 / with mutual atomic armament, unconditional surrender cost too much 97 / limited war requires a reintroduction of politics into warfare 97 / older limited wars were so because objectives were limited – modern limited wars must now be limited by conscious restraint 99 / gains in the stalemate would be unsatisfying 100 / not about political dominance over the military, but about the military reality limiting political objectives 100 / limited nuclear war (tac nukes) thought to benefit the defender 102 / however, tac nuke forces still required conventional forces for their defense 103 / war games also showed tac nuke war to be untenable 104 / another problem – due to nuke effects, defensive use over allied territory seems Pyrrhic 105 / Soviets rejected the thought that any nuclear war would be limited 105 / deterrence through denial (can't achieve your objective) and deterrence through punishment (you achieve your objective, but the consequences are too great) 107 / graduated deterrence means “the punishment should fit the crime” 107-8 / assumption that limited war was possible, and that both sides agreed it was possible 109 / also, defensive use might hurt the defended population as much as the aggressor 109 / thus graduated deterrence was no more credible than massive retaliation 110 / nuclear taboo came from communist propaganda and the disturbing nature of nuclear detonations 110 / “strategy is about the overall relationship between military means and the ends of policy, while tactics is concerned with the specific application of military means for direct military ends 112 / unorthodox warfare blurs or casts aside the distinction between military and civilian targets 112 / “nuclear weapons, whatever their shape, size, or ostensible purpose, could not be considered 'just another weapon'. But what sort of weapons these 'tactical' nuclear weapons really were remained a mystery.” 113 / nuclear war victor gets to try to create a new world out of the rubble 117 / original thought was the the West had to have a favorable imbalance of terror, but later large stockpiles led to equality – and nobody wanted equality because the criminals shouldn't be equal 119 / two options – maligned preventive war (before USSR got equality) and preemptive war 119-20 / preemption requires great intel and the capability to interdict the imminent attack 120 / the moral problem of counter-city (counter-value) strategy gave rise to counter-force strategy 121 / counter-force involves a central blunting mission to ground enemy bombers 123ff / if a first strike can be decisive, then a hair trigger is desirable – but if a second strike is certain, a hair trigger is stupid 125 / problem with NATO, per Kahn, is that the US might be compelled to nuke the USSR even though the USSR didn't do anything to the US – in other words, a first nuclear strike which would result in the Reds launching against the US 127 / in '59, RAND released that the balance of terror required a capability of a second strike in spite of a successful first strike 129 / Sputnik revealed US vulnerability 131 / looked like the Reds were planning and preparing to win a nuke war, so to prevent it we had to as well 133 / Russian fatalism presumed a willingness to absorb the cost of nuclear war 133-4 / moralism tainted SAC's advice 135 / L-H argued against it, because the passionless Commies theorized that victory was inevitable, so there was no reason to rush into a risky first nuclear strike 136 / Stalin's death allowed Soviet theorists to take their blinders off 136-7 / deterrence went against the Soviet view of the inevitable collapse of capitalism 139 / Reds thought that a surprise first strike would enable effective mopping-up 142 / by '61, the missile gap had swung back to the US 144 / SecAF Quarles propounded “sufficiency” in '56 147 / Kahn '50 – while not inevitable, nuke war should drive a “frantic search for methods for improving all capabilities” 148 / Killian report '55 – winner of ICBM race gets an important advantage, surprise attack no good, stalemate might not be resolvable 149ff / Gaither report '57 – advantage requires SAC alert, ICBMs require a robust national shelter program, predicted passive defenses against ICBMs 151ff / preemption leads to security dilemma 153 / misperception spiral could turn cold war hot 154 / fear that he is about to strike makes me more likely to strike, which prompts him to strike, which motivates me to strike … 154 / two profoundly destabilizing capabilities: disarming surprise counterforce attack, and active defense against ICBMs (robust civil defense could be a third) 155 / Navy argued “fortress” hardening encouraged an arms race 157 / bombers, missiles, and subs should work as legs in a nuclear triad 158ff / nuclear stalemate under nuclear plenty requires mutual unstoppable retaliatory strike capabilities 160 / loyalty and discipline, not heroism, leadership, or coup d ‘oeil, were desired military traits in the missile age 165-6 / civil strategists replaced military strategists 166 / system approach 168 / wargaming ignored motive most of the time 170 / new war, new methodology: game theory (Schelling, Kaplan, Snyder, Ellsberg, Hoag, Morgenstern) 171 / game theory reduced strategic problems to dilemmas and paradoxes, which could be examined to find solutions 172 / key was interdependence of the players’ decisions 172 / also, assumption of rationality 173 / excessive use of quantification lent an air of objectivity to game theory results 174 / formal strategists succeeded in proving first strike was not prudent, but failed in saying what to do if deterrence failed 174-5 / game theory examples – Chicken and Prisoner's Dilemma 175ff / formal, even abstract, theories worked to preserve the status quo 179 / stable conflict said each side should work for stalemate, not victory 180 / this is a tit-for-tat strategy 181 / two ways to use force – deny or punish (brute or hurt, via Schelling) 182 / punishment is coercive, and there's history to support its use (termed dirty and extortionate) 182 / moral relativism – immoral to start a nuke war, but moral to strike back with “murderous intensity” 183 / city bombing seen as more moral than counterforce, because counterforce was a destabilizing first strike cape 184 / the term disarmament yielded to “arms control” 187 / central theme of arms control is stability 187 / nuclear weapons are by nature disproportionate and don't distinguish between civilian and military targets 189 / moral issue – retaliatory strike doesn't fix anything because the damage is done (like killing the mass murderer doesn't bring back the victims) 190 / partial test ban and successful resolution of the Cuban missile crisis disarmed the disarmers 195 / nukes made unconditional surrender unlikely, but could still be used to improve bargaining position 196-7 / limited nuclear war could allow signaling between salvos 198 / escalation links change in a salient (bulge) to increased response (past a line previously eschewed) 199-200 / escalation ladder 203 / Kahn’s message - nuke exchange need not terminate rationality 204 / escalation dominance means we are obviously more willing and capable to escalate-a favorable asymmetry of capabilities 205-6 / uncertainty reinforces deterrence 207 / emphasis became creating a situation where only the enemy’s withdrawal would relieve the shared pain 209 / making a commitment to stand fir, then backing down, degrades future commitments (Nam) 210 / US bragging in ’61 about superiority helped destabilize superpower relations 216 / McNamara hated interservice rivalry 217 / “Soviet advances in strategic arms neutralized the West’s major advantage” 218 / political irrationality comes not from individuals but from interest groups [like AFA] 219 / Kennedy demanded options besides suicide or surrender 220 / the availability of conventional forces made nuclear threats less credible 221 / McNamara policy moved from killing cities to targeting second-strike forces, C2, then cities p222 / this would improve bargaining and coercive impact 224 / protecting C2 and counterstrike forces should show Soviets we need not preempt 226 / however, it didn’t make much sense to the Soviets; they thought we were working towards a first-strike 226 / Soviets said mass destruction was inevitable once nukes were employed 228 / Cuban missile crisis had Kenney threaten massive retaliation while dispersing nuke bombers to prevent Soviet counter-force attack 231 / then came the partial test ban treaty and talk of détente 231 / city-nuking policy aimed to state consequences most effectively 232-233 / “assured destruction” meant unacceptable damage in counter-strike 233 / MAD is the same as the ‘50s “stable balance of terror” 234 / nuclear defense in 2 categories - active (detect and shoot down) and passive (shelter and harden) 236-7 / defense was generally 3x more expensive than offense 238 / defensive systems can exacerbate risk by making a first strike more appealing (no risk of counterstrike) or by leading to an arms race to overwhelm the defensive system [also by putting the have-not in a use-or-lose situation: “I must nuke before his shield is up, because I will be unable to deter him afterwards”] 239 / Soviets chose not to follow MacNamara’s predicted course of strategic thought 243-4 / MAD relied on sufficiency 245 / Soviets adopted a strategic posture of “minimum deterrent” by missiles 248 / US emphasized a secure second strike 250 / Soviets countered US counterforce with countervalue 251-2 / Soviet belief that greater military power led to stronger deterrent effect 257 / dispute between US and France like that between USSR and China 258 / Chinese worked to de-mystify nukes – ‘just another weapon’ and overwhelmed by the ‘spiritual atomic bomb’ 260-1 / nukes make strange bedfellows – Sino-US! 266-7 / increasing conventional forces in ‘60s under L-H and Schelling 265ff / what US called ltd, Europe called “invasion” 280 / US deemed increasing conventional forces in Europe would deter Soviet adventurism on the fringes or in Berlin 282 / US’s isolation of military strategy from political realities caused problems 286 / proliferation means other governments have to do countervalue because they don’t have enough precision or volume to do counterforce 291ff / atomic weapons perceived as giving “a seat at the table” 296 / French trumpeted their doubts about US commitment to Europe 299ff / flawed French strategy to make France the center of the new Europe ended up making Germany the center of a robust NATO Europe contingent 307 / Western fears that German nuclear proliferation would result in a resurgent nationalism 311 / US military-industrial complex the innovative force from the late ‘60s on, which means US was responsible for triggering the security dilemma during that period 321 / mil-indus complex formed coalitions which drove development and production of new weapons 322 / by arguing against ABM, liberals went from hating to MAD to embracing it as stabilizing 323-4 / politically expedient to tout sufficiency 325 / triad synergy as a second-strike cape 326 / Congressional staff growth in late ‘60s to help legislators cope with information overload, including the nuclear issues 328 / continued Soviet buildup through ‘70s argued that there wasn’t a simple action-reaction response 330-331 / MAD condemned in late ‘70s as “mass killing of hostages” 333 / MIRV technology added to uncertainties regarding the balance of forces 335 / in SALT, tough to determine relative values or weights of different capabilities 339-340 / Schlesinger noted four requirements for credible nuclear deterrence: survivable second strike cape, essential equivalence not just in forces but in will et al, flexible forces, and a wide range of capes (two themes – unambiguous parity and wide flexibility) 342 / problem – superior nuke forces unable to bring about political objectives: great weapons, but with limited political utility 343-4 / deterrence is a negative policy option; US had neglected positive policy options 344 / can’t assume the Reds think like we think or believe what we believe 347 / subjective factors have import 351 / how to measure military power? 352 / all this subjective stuff reflected the lack of any clear empirical basis for nuclear strategy 354 / can’t avert nuclear war by saying it would be an unlimited catastrophe 356 / expanding the President’s options isn’t necessarily good, because it puts a greater burden on one man’s decisionmaking skill 362 / “it takes two to keep a nuclear war limited” 363 / hope that conventional precision would limit reliance on nukes 366 / neutron bombs seen as making nukes easier to use 367-8 / threat of loss of ICBMs to superior USSR first strike pretty scary 370-2 / decreasing credibility of limited response strategies 373-4 / strategic thought mostly based on rumor, hints, and innuendo - but was nevertheless the foundation of US national defense. That’s bad. 377 / “nuclear winter” hypothesis in the ‘80s gave credit to unilateral disarmament protesters 384 / forces should be available for use in anger, without a specified doctrine for use – hardened, not provocative or disruptive of arms control measure, and have secure C2 391 / SDI was pursued as a way to make nukes obsolete; to remove the pall of MAD from the world 395 / Gorbachev reflected the existing changes in Soviet military doctrine and social feedback 401ff / US’s biggest problem was extending deterrence to Europe et al 404ff / end of cold war opened the door to fringe states and their conflicts 409 / Op Desert Storm taught the world not to fight the US unless you have a nuke or use asymmetric means 412ff / collapse of USSR meant their nuclear arsenal was less stable than during the cold war 416 / this instability led to much US-Russia cooperation in early warning data sharing 417 / fear of rogue states kept missile defense debates alive 430 / a move toward nuclear weapons for conventional use (deep penetrators; to purge bio-weapon targets) 433 / deterrence obviously worked, but was it overkill? 437 / deterrence remains relevant in a unipolar and multifaceted world, because of nuclear proliferation 440ff / nukes didn’t deter Iraq moving into Kuwait, nor pursuing WMD 447ff / US strategy shifted from deterrence to preemption after 9/11 452ff / risk of being on the receiving end of a nuclear strike was an enormous foreign policy constraint 462 / paradox – nukes guarantee state autonomy, but tie a state to a global interdependence on all other nuke powers 464 / “there can be no purely nuclear strategies, but there remains a continuing need for strategies that take nuclear weapons into account” 464

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