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ERIC Number: ED566559
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 126
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3394-6648-4
Nuclear Arsenals at Low Numbers: When Less Is Different
Hustus, Hunter
ProQuest LLC, D.L.P. Dissertation, Northeastern University
President Obama's 2009 speech in Prague is remembered as a call for the eventual elimination of nuclear weapons. It reinvigorated a long-overdue policy debate in the United States and Europe. Unfortunately, that debate is characterized by a focus on arsenal size that borders on numerology, a lack of imagination consistent with presentism, and absence of a common framework to evaluate competing claims. Nuclear weapons were transformative. They defined the Cold War and a theory of strategic nuclear deterrence emerged to explain their utility. The United States and Russia have since reduced their nuclear arsenals. Direct experience with nuclear weapons among strategists and policymakers has also declined, affecting their ability to evaluate deterrence concepts. This research project identifies a way to bolster comprehension of nuclear issues. Using a mixed-methods approach, I conducted a quasi-experiment consisting of a game built around a digital artifact. A total of 41 participants were enlisted from the United States Departments of Defense (DoD) and State, think tanks, and universities. All were knowledgeable of contemporary nuclear weapons issues. Data were created from surveys conducted before and after the intervention as well as participant gameplay choices and comments. The data show that following the quasi-experiment, a significant number of participants had adopted new conceptual frameworks. This indicates that many nuclear weapons experts have misperceptions regarding how they currently think about nuclear issues and that such gaming techniques can generate insights for both players and researchers. I recommend further research to explore nuclear force structure transition points identified by participants and changes to DoD strategic deterrence priorities to emphasize denial of adversary objectives over threat of punishment. Both have significant implications to national security and budget prioritization. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A