• James J. Wirtz
Part of the Initiatives in Strategic Studies: Issues and Policies book series (ISSIP)


By the time the September 11, 2001, attacks against the Pentagon and the World Trade Center focused global attention on the terrorist threat, the George W. Bush administration was already developing a series of initiatives to transform Cold War nuclear force structure and policy to meet a changing security environment. Responding to a congressional requirement contained in the FY2001 National Defense Authorization Act, the Bush administration issued a comprehensive review of U.S. nuclear forces on January 8, 2002.l This Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) remains classified, but officials have described it as calling for a fundamental change in U.S. nuclear weapons policy and a departure from the traditional U.S. approach to deterrence. The NPR calls for the U.S. nuclear deterrent to transform slowly into a more broad-based strategic deterrent that now includes nuclear weapons, conventional precision-strike forces, and missile defenses. The NPR is not current doctrine; it is a roadmap for change.


Nuclear Weapon Nuclear Force Bush Administration Central Intelligence Agency North Atlantic Treaty Organization 


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  1. 2.
    Keith B. Payne and C. Dale Walton, “Deterrence in the Post-Cold War World,” in John Baylis, James J. Wirtz, Eliot Cohen and Colin Gray, eds., Strategy in the Contemporary World (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), 161–182.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Robert Joseph, “The Changing Political-Military Environment,” in James J. Wirtz and Jeffrey A. Larsen, eds., Rockets’ Red Glare: Missile Defenses and the Future of World Politics (Boulder, Colo: Westview Press, 2001), 55–78; and Bradley Graham, Hit to Kill (New York: Public Affairs, 2001).Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Central Intelligence Agency, Unclassified Report to Congress on the Acquisition of Technology Relating to Weapons of Mass Destruction and Advanced Conventional Munitions, January 1 through June 30, 2000.Google Scholar

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© James J. Wirtz and Jeffrey A. Larsen 2005

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  • James J. Wirtz

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