This book highlights the role of nuclear weapons in 21st century U.S. policy. The world has changed a great deal in the last decade and a half. The Cold War stand-off with the Soviet Union is over, and Russia is no longer an ideological adversary. The United States has made historic reductions in its operationally deployed strategic nuclear forces and plans to reduce them to a level of 1,700 to 2,200 by 2012, as called for by the Moscow Treaty. The U.S. has also greatly reduced its non-strategic nuclear forces and the total nuclear warhead stockpile. These significant nuclear reductions are fully warranted in the new security environment. The United States continues to maintain nuclear forces for two fundamental reasons. First, the international security environment remains dangerous and unpredictable, and has grown more complicated since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Political intentions can change overnight and technical surprises can be expected. Second, nuclear weapons continue to play unique roles in supporting U.S. national security. Although not suited for every 21st century challenge, nuclear weapons remain an essential element in modern strategy.
This book consists of public documents which have been located, gathered, combined, reformatted, and enhanced with a subject index, selectively edited and bound to provide easy access.