In this April 2016 presentation by Ed Timperlake, the question of how to reshape US strategy to deal with the second nuclear age is the focus of attention.
Are we trapped by our historical knowledge of “deterrence?”
Professor Bracken: “If the United States doesn’t have a flexible, reliable nuclear posture it can’t deal effectively with other countries who do. It is the ultimate vulnerability that shapes other security choices.”
The Second Nuclear Age
The North Korean Case
By Ed Timplerlake
The Dynamic Global Context
• The overlap of mulGple crises at the same Gme is creaGng a
signiﬁcant challenge to the US and the allied democracies.
• Crises tend to be segregated in the press coverage,
analyGcal assessments or by the poliGcal process. Yet the
crises facing the U.S. and its democraGc allies are
interacGve and cascading.
• What is the nature of the gathering storm facing the U.S.
and its democraGc allies?
• How best to deal with the cascading crises in a connected
world aﬀecGng the viability of democraGc socieGes?
• And nuclear weapons remain the key element in shaping or
survival and security.
Key Drivers of Change
• The disaggregaGon of Europe in the wave of mulGple crises;
• Strategic upheaval in the Middle East and its global impact;
• The cascading impact of Chinese expansion and Russian aggression
on a ﬂuid global system;
• Iranian acGons in the wake of the Iranian agreement, and their
impact on key allies in the region;
• The emergence of 21st century forces of informaGon war impacGng
on the poliGcal debate and consensus in the US and its democraGc
• The impact of poliGcal correctness on avoiding tough strategic
• The failure of the strategic elite to step up to the challenge.
The Rules of Nuclear Deterrence and
Defense Are Changing
• The Russians have included tacGcal nuclear weapons
within the convenGonal kill chain.
• And the Russians have directly threatened Denmark
with a nuclear strike and have pracGced a nuclear
strike against Sweden.
• The Iranians have demonstrated the signiﬁcant
poliGcal value of near possession of nuclear weapons.
• The key role of China in both possessing and
supporGng states with nuclear weapons.
• North Korea poses a clear and present danger to the
United States without a clear understanding of what
the US needs to do to stop their use
Mission Statements Deﬁning the
• USAF Mission Statement
– The mission of the United States Air Force is to ﬂy, ﬁght and win...in air, space
• USN Mission Statement
– If Deterrence fails, the Navy will conduct decisive combat operaGons to defeat
• US Army ADA Mission Statement
– Army's Field Manual 44-100, the mission of Air Defense ArGllery is "to protect
the force and selected geopoliGcal assets from aerial a<ack, missile a<ack,
• NORK "Dear Leader's" Mission Statement
– Turn Washington and Seoul into “ﬂames and ashes” with a “pre-empGve
nuclear strike of jusGce.”
• Iranian Religious Leader's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's Mission Statemen
– America is sGll "The Great SaGn" and Israel is a “fake” regime, and said there
won’t be any Israel in 25 years from now.
How the Combat Commander Sees the
• Compare our interview 3 ½ years ago with
General Jacoby, ASA. the NORTHCOM/NORAD
COMMANDER, to our most recent one with
Admiral Gortney, USN
• DramaGcally diﬀerent threat environment
– Now the US and Canadian homelands face direct
threats from the 10 and 2 O’Clock Vectors
• What deters North Korea or any non-state
• For the Combat Commanders , this is NOT a
• Admiral Gortney: “It is not what is in my head
that ma<ers; it is what is in his?”
• There is a signiﬁcant cross-learning process world
wide among the second nuclear age players.
• Are we trapped by our historical knowledge of
• Professor Bracken: “If the United States doesn’t
have a ﬂexible, reliable nuclear posture it can’t
deal eﬀecGvely with other countries who do. It is
the ulGmate vulnerability that shapes other