Tailored Assurance: Balancing Deterrence and Disarmament in Responding to NATO-Russia Tension Proliferation Papers, No. 59, July 2018
The 2018 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) called for tailoring assurance across America’s allies, including NATO, as part of an overall deterrence and assurance strategy.
NATO is currently dealing with several challenges: Russian hostility, growing pressure internally for nuclear disarmament or withdrawal of non-strategic US nuclear weapons, as well as the questioning of America’s credibility as a guarantor of European security. Since these sources of tension are not felt symmetrically across the 29 member states, it has become necessary to adapt assurance measures on a case-by-case basis by adjusting the military capabilities involved and the communication according to the needs of each country.
The purpose of this study is to identify the various options available to the United States to enable it to adapt capabilities, messaging strategies, and other tools, thereby providing more effective and consistent assurance in the face of the Russian threat. In order to respond effectively to a strategy aimed at accentuating the internal divisions of the Alliance, it is necessary to combine measures related to the “hardware” of NATO’s posture (nuclear weapons, investments, conventional forces etc.) and others related to its “software” (values, Alliance cohesion, communication, etc.).