NPWG Meeting 10/18: Guest Lecture by Ambassador Linton Brooks
Join us for a guest lecture by Ambassador Linton Brooks focused on nuclear deterrence! Please find an abstract and a bio for Ambassador Brooks below:
During the Cold War nuclear deterrence came to be well understood by both the United States and the Soviet Union. It was aimed at preventing a massive attack, was exclusively bilateral, and was to an extent unrelated to conflict in other domains. It assumed a state would respond to an attack with a devastating retaliatory strike from survivable strategic forces. Knowing this, the potential attacker, assumed to be a single rational decision maker, could make a calculated decision that the cost of such a response would exceed any possible benefit to be gained and thus would be deterred. Thus, in theory nuclear war was irrational and therefore unthinkable.
The assumptions of the Cold War are no longer valid. Where nuclear warfare could once be treated separately from conflict in other domains, this is no longer true. Where both sides assumed a massive nuclear exchange, both Russia and China appear to envision achieving their military objectives by smaller, limited attacks. Finally, modern social science has called into question the decision-making model of a single, totally rational, decision maker making the decision to use nuclear weapons on strict cost-benefit considerations.The seminar will discuss the implications of these developments.
Ambassador Brooks has over 60 years of experience in national security. He was the Chief Negotiator for the first two Strategic Arms Reduction Treaties and for five years was the Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, responsible for the US nuclear weapons program. He has been an advisor to several national laboratories, served on several ships carrying nuclear weapons and writes and lectures frequently on deterrence.