Jeffrey LewisPhew … its done.

Well, that is a bit of an exaggeration but The Minimum Means of Reprisal: China/’s Search for Security in the Nuclear Age is off to the editor (the supremely talented Laura Susan Jacobs, who freelances for those of you in need of a friendly but firm grammarian).

Hoping for a (successful) defense sometime between Labor Day and the alumni panel at Augustana. So, now I just need to write a couple of concluding thoughts, a list of figures and references cited, etc.

The last touch was a chart that shows something pretty interesting:

Having combed through various declassified, unclassified and leaked U.S. intelligence estimates over the past forty years, I noticed that NRDC substantially overestimated the size of the Chinese force by counting warheads that were probably never deployed (tactical nuclear weapons, gravity bombs for aircraft, SLBMs).

Correcting the NRDC estimate to account for the flood of information that was released largley after their pioneering work reveals that the number of Chinese operationally deployed nuclear weapons declined by more than half between 1984 and 1994, from approximately 150 to less than 70.

That/’s pretty amazing, when you realize that the “build up” that occurred over the next decade (to 2004) comprised the addition of about a dozen DF-5 ICBMs, bringing the total number of Chinese operationally deployed nuclear weapons to about 80. (The best estimate is 75, which is 1/2 the total in 1984).