Tactical Nuclear Weapons: Emergent Threats in an Evolving Security Environment

Tactical Nuclear Weapons: Emergent Threats in an Evolving Security Environment

by Alistair Millar, Brian Alexander
     
 

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For three decades, arms control treaties have provided a legal basis for limiting and reducing long-range nuclear weapons. However, thousands of sub-strategic, or tactical, nuclear weapons (TNWs) are not monitored or controlled by any existing treaties or formal agreements, even though they can pose security risks equal to or exceeding those of strategic nuclear…  See more details below

Overview


For three decades, arms control treaties have provided a legal basis for limiting and reducing long-range nuclear weapons. However, thousands of sub-strategic, or tactical, nuclear weapons (TNWs) are not monitored or controlled by any existing treaties or formal agreements, even though they can pose security risks equal to or exceeding those of strategic nuclear weapons.

As the world has seen, the rise of international terrorism highlights the potential dangers of tactical nuclear weapons. Because they can be relatively small and portable—particularly but not exclusively in the case of so-called "suitcase" bombs - tactical nuclear weapons are easier to transport and more vulnerable to theft than other nuclear weapons. In terrorists’ hands, they would wreak havoc far surpassing the devastation of September 11. According to the Department of Defense, terrorists would most likely use a nuclear weapon against either a military installation or a political target (a seat of government, large population center, or commercial port city). This possibility raises the stakes in the international effort to control and reduce TNWs.

Despite the critical need for a more informed debate on the issues involving tactical nuclear weapons, little has been published previously on this subject. To bring more attention to this long-ignored danger, Brian Alexander and Alistair Millar have assembled a cadre of ten experts who frame the debate on a multitude of issues ranging from terrorism and arms control to the weapons programs of Russia, India, Pakistan, and China.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Alexander and Millar provide a timely, comprehensive analysis of one of our most critical proliferation problems. From the danger of terrorist theft from insecure Russian arsenals, to South Asian designs for combat use, to U.S. proposals for new nuclear bunker busters, the authors give us valuable information and insights into risks we ignore at our peril."

"[Tactical nuclear weapons] exist in huge numbers, lack adequate safeguards against theft and illicit use, and threaten global stability. This book contributes greatly to our knowledge of these arsenals and to our ability to bring them under control. The expert descriptions and fresh ideas fill a huge gap in the available literature. Highly recommended."

"Alexander and Millar's Tactical Nuclear Weapons clearly explains the importance and urgency of working closely with and providing assistance to Russia on the full accounting, safety, and security of its tactical nuclear weapons, and why terrorists groups are racing to acquire them before these steps are taken."

"This book is a very important examination of the subject of tactical nuclear weapons. The most recent U.S. and Russian doctrines for the potential use of TNWs suggest a renewed interest in their retention and possible use,...making this thorough review of the subject even more desirable."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781574885859
Publisher:
Potomac Books
Publication date:
07/31/2003
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

Meet the Author

Alistair Millar is vice president of the Fourth Freedom Forum and director of its Washington, D.C. office. Millar formerly served as a senior analyst at the British-American Security Information Council. He lives in Washington, D.C.

Brian Alexander is the policy director of the Cuba Policy Foundation. Previously he worked as a research analyst on nonproliferation issues at the Fourth Freedom Forum

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