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The Rockets’ Red Glare: The impact of technology on U.S. nuclear strategy from Eisenhower to Carter

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The Rockets’ Red Glare: The impact of technology on U.S. nuclear strategy from Eisenhower to Carter

Gerchicoff, Brent Thomas (2012) The Rockets’ Red Glare: The impact of technology on U.S. nuclear strategy from Eisenhower to Carter. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

The Manhattan Project redefined the landscape of international security. The advent of the nuclear age, in many ways, reshaped the prospect of great power politics and the very nature of war itself. While nuclear weapons have altered the security environment, the literature that revolves around the subject is limited to a few select topics: arms control, deterrence, normative assertions on the (im)morality of nuclear weapons, the routines and potential accidents of organizational behaviour, and the boondoggles of ballistic missile defense. The literature fails to address how the technical operating requirements of nuclear weapons affect nuclear strategy.

The research question posed in this thesis is: does technology play an independent role in determining nuclear doctrine? The explanation tested in this thesis is that technology, specifically the technical operating requirements of nuclear weapons drove the American military towards a counterforce-biased doctrine and away from a city-strike strategy. Furthermore, the technical operating requirements were responsible for the move away from Launch on Warning and First Strike doctrines. Technology, as the primary driving factor in the establishment of nuclear doctrine, analysts should be able to make key insights into the highly classified characteristics of a state’s nuclear strategy if they are able to find out the procurement policy of that state’s military. A technology-driven nuclear doctrine warns us about how other states will develop in the future, as they will be reflective of the technical operating characteristics of their assets.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Political Science
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Refereed:Yes
Authors:Gerchicoff, Brent Thomas
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Public Policy and Public Administration
Date:29 August 2012
Thesis Supervisor(s):Schofield, Julian and Bloodgood, Elizabeth
Keywords:Nuclear doctrine, nuclear strategy, military strategy, military doctrine, international security, strategic studies, cold war, technology, US doctrine
ID Code:974794
Deposited By:BRENT GERCHICOFF
Deposited On:30 Oct 2012 11:28
Last Modified:30 Oct 2012 11:28
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