AUTHORBracken, Paul
TITLEThe Command and Control of Nuclear Forces
PUBLISHERYale University Press
CITYNew Haven, CT

This book examines the simultaneous evolution of the United States’ and Soviet Union’s command and control infrastructures through to the early eighties. It details the U.S.’s effort to development a command and control system over its nuclear arsenal that balanced safeguards against accidental or unintentional use and was able to be quickly and efficiently mobilized and used when necessary. Paul Bracken describes the military’s strategic and tactical warning systems, the institutions involved in interpreting information, and the decision-making hierarchy in the nuclear chain of command. He emphasizes how the close coupling of the U.S. and Soviet Union nuclear forces heightens the risk of unwanted conflict, as built-in systemic responses and counter-responses could escalate negligible security threats through a series of minor precautionary procedures into high-level alerts on both sides. The book explains the evolution thought about how nuclear war should be conducted, including the doctrines of massive retaliation, mutually-assured destruction, and limited tactical use. Bracken also details the implications of different nuclear strategies taken by the U.S. and the Soviet Union and their forces’ likely response to different scenarios.

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