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Event Information:

  • Mon

    NPWG Meeting 9/26: Guest Speaker Dr. David Arceneaux

    5:40 pm

    This week we will be hosting Dr. David Arceneaux, who will be speaking to us on nuclear command and control systems and nuclear decision making authority.  See below for an abstract and bio.

    Nuclear Command and Control in Regional Nuclear Powers

    Command and control systems are the operational means by which a state conducts the management, deployment, and potential release of nuclear weapons. These systems fundamentally underpin important dimensions of nuclear strategy and operations, such as deterrence and strategic stability. Despite such broader implications, however, detailed analysis on nuclear command and control remains scarce in the post-Cold War era. This presentation advances research on nuclear command and control in two ways. First, the project presents a new conceptual framework of command and control arrangements that emphasizes the procedures employed to transition from peacetime to crisis arsenal management practices. Second, the project provides a theory that specifies how three variables interact to explain command and control outcomes in regional nuclear powers, including the presence of a proximate and conventionally superior adversary, the severity of domestic threats to the political regime, and the level of military organizational autonomy. Evidence from India, Pakistan, and the United Kingdom provide the empirical foundations of the analysis, including original interview data with political and military elites. These contributions inform academic research on nuclear strategy and operations and yield policy implications for engaging with emerging nuclear proliferators.


    David Arceneaux is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. He is also the Rosetti Fellow for Future Conflict at the U.S. Air Force Academy’s Institute for Future Conflict and a nonresident fellow with the Eurasia Group Foundation. Arceneaux received his PhD in political science from Syracuse University in 2019 and has held fellowships at Harvard University, MIT, and Johns Hopkins University. Arceneaux’s research focuses on nuclear weapons strategy and operations, with particular attention to nuclear command and control systems and nuclear platform diversification. His work has appeared in academic and policy outlets, including a chapter in a forthcoming edited volume at Cornell University Press and commentary pieces in War on the Rocks and the National Interest.


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