David Arceneaux on Nuclear Command and Control
On Target: an EGF Conversation
As global news headlines race from one story to the next, the line between fact and speculation is often blurred. At the same time, the dynamics driving international relations often get ignored. On Target unpacks the most pressing issues of the day, from nuclear weapons to US foreign aid. Research fellow Zuri Linetsky invites EGF’s nonresident fellows to break down their research and apply it to today’s most critical foreign policy debates.
The Russia-Ukraine war has us thinking about nuclear weapons and the range of scenarios that could lead to nuclear escalation. In this episode of On Target, Zuri’s guest is nuclear weapons expert David Arceneaux, who helps us understand the avenues that could lead to these weapons’ purposeful or accidental use. David also clears up common misconceptions about mutually assured destruction and discusses the dilemmas planners face when they grapple with the answers to the who, what, when, and how, of nuclear weapons deployment.*
* The views expressed here are those of David’s and do not reflect the official policy or position of the US Air Force or the US Government.
David Arceneaux is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, a Rossetti fellow at the United States Air Force Academy’s Institute for Future Conflict, and a nonresident fellow at EGF. David’s research focuses on nuclear strategy, command and control, and platform diversification.The views expressed here are those of David’s and do not reflect the official policy or position of the US Air Force or the US Government.
- Barry Posen, Inadvertent Escalation: Conventional War and Nuclear Risks (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1991).
- Cheryl Rofer, “Could Ukraine Have Retained Soviet Nuclear Weapons,” Lawyer, Guns and Money, February 6, 2022.
- David Arceneaux and Rachel Tecott, “Nuclear Risks: Russia’s Ukraine War Could End in Disaster,” The National Interest, July 31, 2022.
- David Arceneaux, “Covid-19 and British Nuclear Deterrence,” War On The Rocks, April 24, 2020.
- John J. Mearsheimer, “The Case for a Ukrainian Nuclear Deterrent,” Foreign Affairs 72, no. 3 (Summer 1993).
- Peter D. Feaver, “Command and Control in Emerging Nuclear Nations,” International Security 17, no. 3 (Winter 1992-1993).