Guest editor's introduction by ProQuest


A significant milestone was the 2001 nuclear posture review, which introduced the strategic concept of the "new triad." The traditional nuclear triad consisted of land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, sea-launched ballistic missiles, and nuclear-armed bombers. The new triad envisions an "offensive strike" leg that combines existing (and further modernized) nuclear strike platforms with advanced, long-range conventional weapons capable of destroying WMD assets. Offensive capabilities would, however, be joined by two additional legs: ballistic missile defence against the growing ballistic missile threat and a responsive defence infrastructure capable of rapidly developing new nuclear and nonnuclear capabilities.The new triad is designed to effectively mitigate, or even eliminate, any advantages that can be accrued from an asymmetrical adversary's strategic deterrent, and therefore reinforce the American strategic advantage over regional WMD states, such as Syria and Iran, and nascent nuclear powers like North Korea. The 2006 "quadrennial defense review" promises "tailor able" capabilities to provide additional military options for US policymakers against a range of potential adversaries, including "advanced military powers, regional WMD states or non- state terrorists."1American strategist Keith Payne has rightly referred to the new triad as a strategic and not just a nuclear force posture, and its components have gradually been implemented over the last several years. "Global strike" - involving a range of nuclear and nonnuclear capabilities and increasingly flexible, adaptive, or "crisis action" war planning - has become an important new component in the US military posture, and will complement the ongoing life extension and modernization of the existing nuclear legacy systems that is expected to boost their hard- tar get kill capability.2 The deployment of ground-based interceptors and the spread of allied missile defence arrangements have accelerated, wh

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