Cruise Control: The Logical Next Step in Nuclear Arms Control?

By Christine Parthemore and Andy Weber

In January 2019, our colleague Rear Admiral John Gower, CB OBE outlined a logical vision for balancing future progress in nuclear arms control and reductions with the need for maintaining nuclear strategic stability over time. In Improving Nuclear Strategic Stability Through a Responsibility-Based Approach: A Platform for 21st Century Arms Control he suggests that the most important next steps in limiting and reducing nuclear weapons would focus on the types of capabilities “most susceptible to nuclear warfighting.” 

Gower identified nuclear cruise missiles and other dual-capable systems as most destabilizing and highest priority. Steps to halt the spread of and eliminate such weapons would not meaningfully hinder the deterrence capabilities of the countries that possess them and, at the same time, would show commitment to NPT obligations and long-held international norms by any nations involved. 

We’ve collaborated with Gower to advance these ideas for several years, and they form the primary framework through which we are conducting work on the future of arms control. Building on this work, we have a new article in the Journal for Peace and Nuclear Disarmament focused on the nuclear cruise missile element of this vision. 

In “Cruise Control: The Logical Next Step in Nuclear Arms Control?” we outline the status of nuclear-armed cruise missiles worldwide and recent years’ efforts by nations and nongovernmental organizations to explore the prospects of focusing on these systems for next steps in arms control. As we have found, along with many other international experts, the relatively narrow but important step of eliminating this category of nuclear weapons offers a way forward well worth pursuing.

Read the full article here.   


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