De-escalation and Soviet Nuclear Operations

  • David Frelinger


Many writings have appeared over the years on nuclear forces and nuclear strategy. This chapter focuses on the prospect that certain de-escalatory measures will allow and even encourage Soviets leaders to ‘stand down’ (i.e. return to peacetime operations) their nuclear forces after a crisis, despite conflicting motives for keeping forces on alert. Standing-down forces is one of many de-escalatory measures the Soviet and the United States might consider as a way to build confidence in nuclear crisis termination.


Nuclear Weapon Nuclear Force Nuclear Exchange Cruise Missile Conventional Force 
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  1. Bruce G. Blair, ‘Alerting in Crisis and Conventional War’, in Ashton B. Carter, John Steinbruner, Charles Zraket (eds), Managing Nuclear Operations (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution 1987), pp. 75–120, andGoogle Scholar
  2. Paul Bracken, The Command and Control of Nuclear Forces, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1983).Google Scholar
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    Thomas Cochran, William Arkin, Robert Norris, and Jefferey Sands, Nuclear Weapons Databook: Soviet Nuclear Weapons, Volume IV, (New York: Harper and Row, 1989). START-compliant forces are based on information from the Soviet Academy of Science’s Institute for World Economic and International Relations.Google Scholar

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© Joseph E. Nation 1992

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  • David Frelinger

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