The United States enters 2020 amidst a nuclear landscape unlike one it has faced before. The total number of nuclear weapons has decreased since the fall of the Soviet Union; however, new technologies and players in the field have complicated matters for US policymakers. The net assessment approach for measuring the relative military capability of nations provides a framework for better understanding the nuclear landscape in which the United States now finds itself. From there, this article will offer analysis of key factors governing the complexities of the global nuclear terrain—including total warhead inventory, special nuclear stockpile material and production, and arsenal size and survivability. Shifting paradigms in the global order may encourage US policymakers to re-envision strategic decision-making alongside pronounced possibilities of escalation, miscalculation, and deterrent guarantees. The importance of informed US strategy will be all the more relevant in the multipolar second nuclear age.


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pp. 27-42
Launched on MUSE
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