Space and Defense

Space and Defense


Extending the current New START regime can help maintain traditional strategic stability; however, such an approach fails to address destabilizing trends related to non-nuclear strategic technologies and China's expanding forces.

Arms control in the nuclear age has proved a useful tool of national security, meeting ends as diverse as reducing the risks of nuclear war to channeling strategic competition. Yet recent trends indicate arms control may be at an inflection point; the suitability of this tool in general and the viability of securing new agreements specifically are both unclear. The New Strategic Arms reduction Treaty (New START) extension somewhat reverses the trend that has seen the collapse the Antiballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty and Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) agreement. However, the pathway to a future ratified treaty is uncertain due to continued mistrust between Washington and Moscow, punctuated most notably by Russia's recent invasion of Ukraine. Domestically, the politically polarized environment in the United States presents additional internal challenges to arms control. Looking beyond the two nuclear superpowers, uncertainty regarding China's nuclear modernization and expansion is also challenging how U.S. leaders consider both regional and strategic stability. Meanwhile, continued development of non-nuclear strategic technologies such as hypersonics and increased military competition in domains like space and cyberspace further complicate long-held views on deterrence, stability, and arms control.



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