Global Zero Alert for Nuclear Forces (Brookings Occasional Papers) (Paperback)
Bruce Blair examines operational safety hazards for nuclear forces deployed on combat alert in Russia, the United States, and elsewhere. He provides new information on command and control procedures and deficiencies that affect the risks of accidental, unauthorized, or inadvertent use of nuclear weapons, particularly those in the former Soviet Union. Blair proposes changes in nuclear operations that would reduce these risks. Remedies range from eliminating targets from missiles to taking all nuclear forces off alert ("zero alert") so that no weapons are poised for immediate launch. In the "zero alert" scenario, missiles and bombers lack nuclear warheads or other vital components and require extensive preparations for redeployment. Blair assesses the effects of such measures on strategic deterrence and crisis stability in the event of a revival of nuclear confrontation between the United States and Russia. He also describes the burdens of verification that his remedies impose. This book is the first in a series devoted to aspects of operational safety and nuclear weapons. Other topics in the series include joint U.S.-Russian missile attack early warning, ensuring the security of dismantled warheads and bomb materials, and command-control problems in the emerging nuclear states.