Jeffrey LewisRethinking US Nuclear Posture

Mike Gerson (the one from CNA, not the Bush speechwriter) and I are giving talks on the Nuclear Posture Review at the Carnegie Endowment today — he on declaratory posture; me on extended deterrence. James Acton is moderating.

It will be nice to take a break from attempting to moderate the comment trolls.

Here are the details. The talks are from 12:00-2:00 pm:

Rethinking U.S. Nuclear Posture

Michael Gerson, Jeffrey Lewis, James M. Acton

Tuesday, September 29, 2009 – Washington, DC

The United States is currently in the process of rethinking its nuclear posture. On the heels of President Obama’s speech in Prague, in which he endorsed the goal of abolishing nuclear weapons, the Nuclear Posture Review — a root and branch review of US weapons policy — is well underway. Against this background, Michael Gerson and Jeffrey Lewis will examine two fundamental aspects of US nuclear posture. Gerson will look at the purpose of American nuclear weapons and ask whether the US should use threaten to use nuclear weapons only in response to a nuclear attack. Lewis will look at the vexed issue of extended deterrence and examine how alliance relations can be better handled.


  1. Bob Reed (History)

    Personally, I believe that a declaratory posture as described, while giving a nation greater moral authority in negotiations, limits strategic options. Perhaps that position is a bit hawkish for this site, but I assure you is not an uninformed one.

    And, on extended deterrence; I believe that this is a crucial element of any non-proliferation effort. But I can also see the position of those who would argue otherwise; that it only encourages non-aligned nations, like Iran for instance, to pursue weapons programs of their own. The flaw in the latter point of view, in my opinion, is that their pursuit of such weaponry is proof that they either wish to undertake offense nuclear strike actions, or other acts that they feel no ally would “back up” through an extended deterrance counterstrike.

    I look forward to reading some of the commentary on this subject. And, are you fellows going to be publishing the transcripts of your lectures, Dr. Lewis?