Command, Control, and the Nuclear Posture Review

  • Nathan Busch
Part of the Initiatives in Strategic Studies: Issues and Policies book series (ISSIP)


In a series of high-level reports in 2001 and 2002, the U.S. government outlined its future strategic posture. These documents made it clear that the U.S. military would be transformed to meet the the military threats of the next century. Although the Cold War was long over, the United States still retained a Cold War-level force structure, doctrine, and outlook. According to these reports, the U.S. military had to abandon its “threat-based” approach to planning and adopt a “capabilities-based” approach to anticipating future conflict.1 U.S. military planners would no longer focus on major threats from a few specific countries but would instead develop a flexible system that could address conflicts in a number of countries, including combat situations that were not previously foreseen. A striking example of this new need in the military was seen in Operation Enduring Freedom, the effort to destroy al Qaeda operatives and their Taliban supporters in Afghanistan. On September 10, 2001, U.S. officials and planners had no idea that the armed forces would soon be engaging in a major military operation in Afghanistan. And yet, less than a month later, the United States began air strikes, which were followed quickly by the introduction of ground forces, in a successful campaign to remove the Taliban from power.


Nuclear Weapon Ballistic Missile Missile Attack Operation Enduring Freedom Missile Defense 
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  1. 17.
    Senator Gary Hart and Senator Barry Goldwater, Recent False Alerts from the Nation’s Missile Attack Warning System, U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Armed Services, 96th Cong., 2nd session, October 9, 1980, 3.Google Scholar

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© James J. Wirtz and Jeffrey A. Larsen 2005

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  • Nathan Busch

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