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The 2018 Nuclear Posture Review: A return to nuclear warfighting?

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The 2018 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) represents a significant shift in U.S. nuclear weapons policy. Using Cold War vintage theory, this article assesses whether the NPR signals a return to nuclear warfighting. The NPR is assessed against five primary drivers for warfighting strategy: enhanced deterrence; to deal with deterrence failure; to maximize damage limitation; to provide a theory of victory; and adherence to just-war theory. The article concludes that although the NPR represents a step in the direction of warfighting, it does not fully embrace it. This is primarily because the NPR fails to endorse an unrestrained theory of victory.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Centre for Security Studies, University of Hull, Hull, UK

Publication date: March 4, 2019

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