NATO

The Expanding Secrecy of the Afghanistan War

Last year, dozens of categories of previously unclassified information about Afghan military forces were designated as classified, making it more difficult to publicly track the progress of the…

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RAND Report Questions Nuclear Role In Defending Baltic States

Click to access RAND report. By Hans M. Kristensen The RAND Corporation has published an interesting new report on how NATO would defend the Baltic States against a Russian attack. Without spending much time explaining why Russia would launch a military attack against the Baltic States in the first place – the report simply declares “the next [after Ukraine] most likely targets for an attempted Russian coercion are the Baltic Republics of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania” - the report contains some surprising (to some) observations about the limitations of nuclear weapons in the real world (by that I mean not in the heads of strategists and theorists). The central nuclear observation of the report is that NATO nuclear forces do not have much credibility in protecting the Baltic States against a Russian attack. That conclusion is, to say the least, interesting given the extent to which some analysts and former/current officials have been arguing that NATO/US need to have more/better limited regional nuclear options to counter Russia in Europe. The report is very timely because the NATO Summit in Warsaw in six months will decide on additional responses to Russian aggression. Unfortunately, some of the decisions might increase the role or readiness of nuclear weapons in Europe. 

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Declassified: US Nuclear Weapons At Sea

ASROC nuclear test, 1962 By Hans M. Kristensen Remember during the Cold War when US Navy warships and attack submarines sailed the World’s oceans bristling with nuclear weapons and routinely violated non-nuclear countries’ bans against nuclear weapons on their territories in peacetime? The weapons were onboard ballistic missile submarines, attack submarines, aircraft carriers, battleships, cruisers, destroyers, frigates and supply ships. The weapons were brought along on naval exercises, spy missions, freedom of navigation demonstrations and port visits. Sometimes the vessels they were on collided, ran aground, caught fire, or sank. Not many remember today. But now the Pentagon has declassified how many nuclear weapons they actually deployed in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Mediterranean. In our latest FAS Nuclear Notebook published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists we review this unique new set of de-classified Cold War nuclear history. 

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