Stulberg and Kosal Participate in US STRATCOM Deterrence and Reassurance Symposium

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On July 26 and 27, Nunn School Professor Adam Stulberg and Associate Professor Margaret Kosal participated in the 2017 US STRATCOM Deterrence and Reassurance Symposium in Omaha, Nebraska. Dr. Kosal spoke on the implications of the 3rd offset strategy, the DoD's strategy to enable asymmetric capabilities with strategic implications, for deterrence. She spoke about the historical role of new and emerging technologies and discussed two case studies, human performance modification including gene-editing and nanomaterials for advanced bio-inspired camouflage.

In Dr. Stulberg’s presentation he addressed regional perspectives on strategic stability. What it means in terms of nuclear and other vital security dynamics among key regional nuclear states? How well do core tenets of the traditional paradigm (derived from the US-Soviet Cold War experience) travel across these contexts? What are the implications for the relevance of numbers versus policies/political relationships, assured destruction, and U.S. nuclear posture?

Informed by insights from a forthcoming co-edited volume (with Dr. Lawrence Rubin), Dr. Stulberg's presentation underscored five main points. First, the strategic stability, as we traditionally know it, is both enlightening and limiting as applied to different regional contexts-- the intellectual value stems from basic principles (interaction, mutual fear & restraint) while limitations relate to common focus on balance/symmetry, nuclear-centrism (especially reciprocal fears of surprise attack). The strategic stability at the regional level is more than a complex number problem or the summation of multiple dyads- it is a function of the interaction of a variety of conceptions of strategic objectives, threat, uncertainty, and risk that vary across regional context and domains and among asymmetrical players. The traditional balance of power considerations can be augmented by a focus on network relationships that condition and constitute meanings of trust, credibility, reassurance across domains of regional strategic stability. The US can have a crucial impact on regional strategic stability, not only via nuclear force posture and concerted modalities of extended and pivotal deterrence but unintentionally and indirectly, as well as from leveraging "centrality" in regional security relationship. Lastly, that together the above factors carry implications for turning time-honored concepts on their heads (incontestability of costs, transparency, uncertainty), elevating the role of reassurance in U.S. regional policies, and concentrating regional confidence-building on lower levels of conflict.


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