Excerpt on arms race myths vs. strategic competition’s reality from Wohlstetter book’s introduction

This week’s excerpt from “Albert and Roberta Wohlstetter on Nuclear-Age Strategy,” Robert Zarate’s introductory essay to Nuclear Heuristics: Selected Writings of Albert and Roberta Wohlstetter (2009), looks at the Wohlstetters’ work to understand more precisely how the United States and the USSR competed in strategic nuclear arms, and clarify the extent to which the U.S.-USSR strategic nuclear competition resembled a “spiraling” arms race — or something altogether different. For more, see the earlier Wohlstetter book excerpts on:

Excerpts exclude the supporting endnotes but you can get them — and much, much more — if you view or download the PDF version of the book at www.albertwohlstetter.com/book.

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EXCERPT: THE WOHLSTETTERS ON ARMS RACE MYTHS VS. STRATEGIC COMPETITION’S REALITY

By Robert Zarate

In the late 1960s, as Albert Wohlstetter expanded the scope of his nonproliferation research, he also became increasingly involved in heated policy debates over whether the United States should qualitatively improve the capabilities of its strategic nuclear forces.

Many proponents of arms control opposed qualitative improvements. They premised their arguments on automatic deterrence and minimum deterrence — doctrines holding that a government could easily and reliably deter a wide range of aggression merely by possessing a few technologically crude nuclear weapons which, in the event of an attack, would be used against an aggressor’s cities and civilian populations. Moreover, arms controllers typically believed that worst-case analyses were compelling the United States to pursue qualitative nuclear improvements that would go far beyond a mere “minimum deterrent” nuclear posture. In their view, such innovations were activating an action-reaction dynamic that was forcing the USSR — which many arms controllers believed wanted only a “minimum deterrent” — to engage in a nuclear “arms race” with the United States, a race that was spiraling out of control, exacerbating bilateral tensions, and increasing the likelihood of war.

In contrast, Wohlstetter (along with other like-minded strategists) supported military-technological innovation. A longtime skeptic of automatic and minimum deterrence, he held that a government’s mere possession of nuclear weapons did not guarantee a survivable, controllable, and credible deterrent against a nuclear first strike; rather, the requirements for a system of nuclear forces capable of providing such a deterrent were far more stringent. Moreover, he countered that an action-reaction dynamic was not inexorably governing strategic competition in general, nor Soviet nuclear-weapons development and procurement decisions in particular; and that qualitative improvements would not invariably lead to spiraling arms races and increased tension, let alone to a greater likelihood of war. Indeed, Albert believed that some technological innovations would tend to encourage stability.

These largely opposing views would clash publicly in 1969, when the Senate deliberated over whether to approve the initial deployment of the Safeguard anti-ballistic missile (ABM) defense system. In the the mid-1970s, the aftermath of the ABM debate would inspire Wohlstetter to study systematically the history of the U.S. and USSR’s strategic competition in nuclear arms. That study’s conclusions would lead him to criticize the arm controllers’ claims of inevitable worst-casing, of immutable action-reaction dynamics, and of consequent spiraling arms races as muddled myths that were driving a Luddite approach to arms control. The Wohlstetters and their colleagues would articulate, as a better alternative, an approach to arms control derived from what they saw as a more nuanced understanding of strategic competition.

The 1969 ABM Debate.

A revised version of the Johnson Administration’s Sentinel ABM program, the Nixon Administration’s Safeguard program envisioned using nuclear-tipped missile interceptors to defend U.S. land-based strategic forces, as well as the nation’s political and military leaders, against attacks by Soviet nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and sea-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs). It also sought to protect population centers against either the accidental or unauthorized launch of an adversary’s ICBM or SLBM, or a deliberate but numerically small missile attack by nascent nuclear-armed governments like the People’s Republic of China. Safeguard was therefore called a “thin” ABM system because it was intended to defend mainly military and leadership targets and provide only limited protection to civilians — a sharp contrast to the more ambitious “thick” ABM systems that would try to defend most or all of America’s civilian population from very large missile attacks. In the early 1960s, the Soviet Union had already begun developing the so-called A-35, a comparable “thin” ABM system using nuclear-tipped Galosh missile interceptors, with the aim of protecting political-military leaders in Moscow from attack.

In the Senate, prominent Safeguard opponents included Stuart Symington (D-MO) and Edward Kennedy (D-MA), as well as Senate Foreign Relations Committee chair J. William Fulbright (D-AR). Outside anti-ABM experts included Jerome Wiesner and George Rathjens, both of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; former State Department legal adviser Abram Chayes of Harvard Law School; and Wolfgang Panofsky of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. Some of these experts would form advocacy groups to assist the anti-ABM senators.

Prominent Safeguard supporters included Senate Armed Services Committee chair John Stennis (D-MS) and Senate Subcommittee on National Security and International Operations chair Henry “Scoop” Jackson (D-WA), as well as the Pentagon’s Director of Defense Research and Engineering, John Foster. Outside pro-ABM experts included Albert Wohlstetter (now a professor at the University of Chicago), former Secretary of State Dean Acheson, and former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Nitze. These three would join together to form the Committee to Maintain a Prudent Defense Policy, a group that sought to provide pro-ABM senators with analytic support. (Paul Wolfowitz and Peter Wilson, both of whom were at the time doctoral candidates at the University of Chicago, and Richard Perle, then a graduate student at Princeton, would help to staff this committee.)

During Senate hearings on the ABM, opponents raised three main objections. First, they asserted that anticipated Soviet strategic nuclear forces would not be capable of knocking out America’s land-based second-strike capability, therefore obviating one of Safeguard’s stated purposes. In particular, Rathjens submitted to the Congress an analysis calculating that any attempts at a preclusive nuclear first-strike by the Soviets would destroy, at the most, three-quarters of America’s land-based Minuteman ICBMs. Moreover, Wiesner charged that ABM proponents were using worst-case scenarios to strengthen their argument. “We always underestimate our own capabilities and overestimate those of the other fellow,” Wiesner claimed in an essay on the ABM.

Second, they argued that qualitative improvements — efforts to develop not only active defense systems like the ABM, but also multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV) systems, and to improve the delivery accuracy of ICBMs and other nuclear-armed delivery vehicles — would spark spiraling and therefore destabilizing arms races. To halt what they saw as the action-reaction dynamic governing the strategic competition between the United States and USSR, they called for arms control agreements that would quantitatively cap American and Soviet strategic nuclear forces, and prohibit qualitative improvements to military nuclear technologies.

Third, anti-ABM experts claimed that the United States, at any rate, had cheaper and more effective ways than the ABM to protect its second-strike capability. For example, Rathjens held that a brute increase in the numbers of American ICBMs would be a better alternative than Safeguard. Senator Fulbright even suggested that a “launch-on-warning” nuclear posture would render the ABM unnecessary and provide what he described as “the greatest deterrence.” The Senator explained:

It would seem to me that assurance, the knowledge that these ICBMs, even part of them, would be released immediately without any fiddling around about it, even without asking the computer what to do, it would be the greatest deterrence in the world.

ABM opponent Ralph Lapp would reiterate this point in The New York Times: “As Senator Fulbright pointed out, empty holes [of the ICBMs that would be launched on warning of an attack] may be our most powerful deterrent weapon.”

At an April 1969 hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Wohlstetter issued a forceful rejoinder to these Safeguard opponents. First, he challenged claims that anticipated Soviet strategic nuclear forces would be wholly incapable of launching a nuclear first-strike to preclude substantially an American second-strike by U.S. land-based ICBMs. In particular, Albert criticized Rathjens’ analysis, charging that he had found significant methodological errors and distortions of intelligence estimates when he had tried to replicate Rathjens’ calculations.

(After the hearing, Wohlstetter and Rathjens’ increasingly acerbic exchanges would spill onto the opinion pages of The New York Times and other forums. In July 1971, a special committee appointed by the Operations Research Society of America’s president would release a detailed peer review of the Wohlstetter-Rathjens debate. This peer review — the idea for which was adamantly opposed by Rathjens, Wiesner et al. — would come out in favor of Wohlstetter’s analysis and criticisms of the anti-ABM opponents. In particular, the peer review would conclude that the analyses of the anti-ABM experts “were often inappropriate, misleading, or factually in error.” The Society’s findings would do little to quell Wohlstetter and Rathjens’ increasingly bitter dispute, however.)

Second, Wohlstetter countered claims that Safeguard would necessarily start a spiraling race in nuclear arms or arms spending. “Indeed, despite the stereotype,” he said of the U.S. spending on nuclear arms during the 1960s, “there has been no quantitative arms race in the strategic offense and defense budget, no ‘ever accelerating increase,’ nor, in fact, any long-term increase at all.” (As this essay details below, the Wohlstetters and their colleagues would conduct a study in the 1970s detailing this point.)

Third, Albert argued that Safeguard would be a cheaper and less destabilizing way than brute numerical increases of America’s nuclear arsenal to protect land-based U.S. second-strike capability against Soviet strategic nuclear forces — forces which were likely to add more accurate ICBMs with modest MIRVed warhead capability. He elaborated:

There is an important difference between making qualitative adjustments to technical change and expanding the number of vehicles or megatons or dollars spent. The difference has been ignored in a debate on ABM that seems at the same time impassioned and very abstract, quite removed from the concrete political, economic, and military realities of nuclear offense and defense and their actual history.

He continued:

For example, one alternative to protecting Minuteman [land-based ICBMs] is to buy more Minutemen without protection. But adding new vehicles is costly and more destabilizing than an active defense of these hard points, since it increases the capacity to strike first. A one-sided self-denial of new technology can lead simply to multiplying our missiles and budgets, or to a decrease in safety, or to both.

Indeed, in the Base Study and follow-on Vulnerability Study that Wohlstetter had led at the RAND Corporation during the 1950s, qualitative technological improvements had figured heavily in efforts to protect U.S. second-strike capability without having to resort to destabilizing quantitative increases in the nuclear arsenal. In particular, his research team had leveraged the breakthrough designs of a brilliant engineer named Paul Weidlinger to show that it was indeed possible to shelter and passively defend ICBMs and command-and-control facilities by building complex underground structures that were orders of magnitude more resistant to the blast effects of nuclear explosions than most engineers had ever thought possible. In Albert’s view, active defense programs like the ABM fell into a long line of useful and stabilizing qualitative improvements to the capabilities of U.S. strategic nuclear forces.

In light of this, Wohlstetter was deeply critical of statements by Senator Fulbright and others promoting “launch-on-warning” as an actual operational policy. Albert found “launch-on-warning” to be deeply dangerous and politically irresponsible:

The revival today, by several distinguished senators and some able physicists opposing ABM, of the suggestion that, rather than defend ICBM’s, we should launch them at Russian cities simply on the basis of radar represents a long step backward. If we were willing to do this, we would dispense with silos or Poseidon submarines or any other mode of protecting our missiles. And we would increase the nightmare possibility of nuclear war by mistake.

The fierce debate between the pro- and anti-ABM crowds would continue into the summer of ’69. In August, the Senate would end up approving the initial deployment of Safeguard, with Vice President Spiro Agnew casting the deciding vote to break the Senate’s 50-to-50 split. However, three years later, at the end of the first round of the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT), the Nixon Administration would conclude with the Soviets an agreement to severely limit deployments of ballistic missile defense. The ABM Treaty of May 1972 initially allowed the United States and USSR each to field two ABM sites, but was later modified in July 1974 to allow each country only one site.

The United States worked to finish its Safeguard site in North Dakota, but the Congress voted to shut it down in late 1975. In contrast, the Soviets would continue to field the A-35 ABM system near Moscow that they had first begun installing in the early 1960s. (Today, the Russian Federation now fields the A-135, an updated version of the A-35 that relies on missile interceptors tipped with non-nuclear explosives, while at the same time opposing U.S. and European Union efforts to build a “thin” ABM system to defend against ballistic missile threats from Iran and other rogue states.)

Strategic Nuclear Competition: Rivalry, But No Race.

As the 1960s gave way to the 1970s, controversies over the wisdom of incorporating technological innovations in U.S. strategic nuclear forces intensified. One key issue was whether the United States should try to improve the accuracy with which nuclear-armed delivery vehicles could be delivered to their intended military targets, even if the purpose was to decrease the possibility of harm to civilian noncombatants.

Echoing their earlier arguments against the ABM, advocates of arms control charged that such technological innovations would inevitably spark new arms races. They held that the United States — leaders of which were wrongly alarmed by worst-case analyses — was pursuing technological military innovations that were activating the action-reaction dynamic, a dynamic that governs military competition, and inexorably leads to spiraling arms races characterized by increased defense spending, larger and more destructive nuclear arsenals, and a greater likelihood of war. Again, arms controllers called for new treaties that would limit qualitative technological improvements to strategic nuclear forces.

It was in this context that Albert and Roberta Wohlstetter, along with colleagues at their Pan Heuristics consulting company, set out to study the history of how the United States and USSR had competed in strategic nuclear arms. Their research aimed to determine the extent to which the American-Soviet strategic nuclear rivalry actually had conformed to the concept of a spiraling arms race.

The Wohlstetters and their colleagues began by observing that arms control advocates often had not carefully and precisely defined what they meant by the concept, arms race. They found that while arms race resonated with powerful emotional and pejorative connotations, the term — as typically used — had only vague, and sometimes confusing, denotations. In “Is There a Strategic Arms Race?” part one of his controversial two-part essay in Foreign Policy (1974), Albert expanded on this point:

When we talk of “arms” are we referring to the total budget spent on strategic forces? The number of strategic vehicles or launchers? The number of weapons? The total explosive energy that could be released by all the strategic weapons? The aggregate destructive area of these weapons? Or are we concerned with qualitative change — that is, alterations in unit performance characteristics — the speed of an aircraft or missile, its accuracy, the blast resistance of its silo, the concealability of its launch point, the scale and sharpness of optical photos or other sensing devices, the controllability of a weapon and its resistance to accidental or unauthorized use? When we talk of a “race” what do we imply about the rate at which the race is run, about the ostensible goal of the contest, about how the “race” is generated, about the nature of the interaction among strategic adversaries?

With the concept of arms races, arms controllers had sought to lay bare the action-reaction dynamic that underlay the strategic nuclear competition between the United States and USSR. Albert, however, was deeply skeptical of the notion behind this dynamic. He wrote:

The very phrase “action-reaction” has an aura of mechanical inevitability. Like Newton’s Third Law: For Every Action There Is An Equal and Opposite Reaction. Only here, since the mechanism is explosive, it seems the law is supposed to read: For Every Action There Is An Opposing Greater-Than-Equal Reaction.

Wohlstetter and company acknowledged the concept of spiraling arms races had correctly demonstrated that one government’s military decisions may have a partial impact on the decisions of another. However, they held that spiraling arms races grossly overstated the extent to which an action-reaction dynamic singly and inexorably drove how governments competed militarily. He explained:

To build a national defense is to recognize serious differences, potentially incompatible goals of possible adversaries. Military forces then are at least partially competitive: What one side does, whether to defend itself or to initiate attack or to threaten attack or response, may be at the partial expense of another side. (Weapons are not by nature altogether friendly.) This means in turn that some connection is only to be expected between what one side does and the kind and probable size of a potential opponent’s force.

Arms race doctrines plainly want to say much more than these simple truths. They suggest that the competition results from exaggerated fears and estimates of opposing threats, and therefore is not merely, or even mainly, instrumental to the partially opposed objectives of each side. The competition takes on an explosive life of its own that may frustrate the objectives of both. Explosive in two senses: (a) it leads to “accelerating” (or “exponential” or “spiraling” or “uncontrolled” or “unlimited” or “unbridled” or “infinite”) increases in budgets and force sizes; (b) it leads inevitably to war, or at any rate makes war much more likely.

Having attempted to state more clearly the thesis of spiraling arms racing, Wohlstetter and colleagues sought to see whether the history of the U.S.-USSR strategic nuclear competition up to that point in time actually had resembled such an arms race. Their study proceeded in three main parts.

First, they reviewed available American intelligence forecasts to evaluate the extent to which, in fact, the United States had regularly overestimated Soviet strategic nuclear deployments with “worst-case” analyses, as arms race proponents had frequently charged. To begin with, they noted that while U.S. intelligence had overestimated the rapidity with which the USSR would deploy long-range ICBMs in the late 1950s, it had underestimated, at the same time, the number of deployed Soviet intermediate range and medium range ballistic missile (IR/MRBMs) launchers. Moreover, after carefully examining annual intelligence predictions and estimates submitted by the Secretary of Defense to the Congress between 1962 to 1972, Wohlstetter and company arrived at surprising and counterintuitive findings. Within this population of before-the-fact intelligence predictions and after-the-fact observed estimates of Soviet nuclear deployments, the United States had underestimated repeatedly and systematically over a ten-year period how much the USSR would annually add to its strategic nuclear forces.

Second, the Wohlstetter team looked carefully at the history of budgets for U.S. strategic nuclear forces to determine the rate at which spending on these forces had increased. Again, they arrived at startling and counterintuitive findings. U.S. annual spending on strategic offensive forces, in fact, had decreased from the mid-1950s until the early 1970s. In particular, spending in the 1950s was more than four times spending in 1976 in terms of constant dollars, and the budget for U.S. strategic nuclear forces had declined in an almost exponential manner since 1961.

Third, Wohlstetter and colleagues examined whether qualitative improvements had actually led to more indiscriminate and destabilizing forces. They found that, even though both the United States and Soviets had pursued technological innovations during the 1960s, American trends pointed decidedly downward, not only for spending on U.S. strategic nuclear forces, but also for key qualitative indicators — for example, the stockpile’s total explosive energy yield, the number of strategic offense and defense warheads, and the arsenal’s equivalent megatonnage.

Taken together, these findings sharply contradicted the sort of invariable enemy overestimation and worst-casing, unchecked growth in strategic nuclear arms and spending, and ever-increasing arsenal destructiveness that arms race theorists had claimed was occurring on the U.S. side. This led the Wohlstetter team to caution that arms racing did not provide an insightful model of how the U.S. and USSR actually had competed strategically in the nuclear age. Arms racing was, at best, an emotionally-charged but muddled and inaccurate metaphor.

What disturbed the Wohlstetters perhaps most of all, however, was how many arms control proponents had used — and were still using — the concept of arms racing to advocate for a U.S. nuclear posture based on doctrines of automatic deterrence, minimum deterrence, or the then-emerging doctrine of mutual assured destruction (MAD): that is, for a nuclear posture which would assure, in the event of any attack by nuclear-armed adversaries, that the United States would escalate to massive nuclear retaliation against cities and civilian populations. The underlying hope of many such arms control proponents was that if the United States and USSR kept numerically small, technologically crude, and explosively indiscriminate nuclear arsenals aimed only at civilian noncombatants, the sheer horror of this posture would not only make all forms of nuclear war less probable, but also make movement toward total nuclear disarmament — if not also toward the dissolution of national sovereignty, world government, and perpetual peace — more likely.

In contrast, Albert and Roberta fiercely opposed such “countervalue” doctrines of nuclear deterrence that targeted cities and civilian noncombatants instead of military forces. Although they deeply doubted the likelihood and verifiability of total nuclear disarmament, they saw themselves as sharing the arms controllers’ goal of making nuclear war less likely. But they maintained that the arms control establishment’s preferred nuclear posture — a “minimum deterrent” posture which privileged a sort of indiscriminate destructiveness against civilians that U.S. decisionmakers might not be willing to carry out, even in the most extreme of circumstances — was unstable, immoral, and unlikely to deter plausible forms of aggression. In his article, “Racing Forward? Or Ambling Back?” (1976), Albert elaborated on this point:

Perverse current dogmas center most of all on an attempt to stop or slow technologies of discrimination and control. However, the remarkable improvements in accuracy and control in prospect will permit non-nuclear weapons to replace nuclear ones in a wide range of contingencies. Moreover, such improvements will permit new forms of mobility for strategic forces, making it easier for deterrent forces to survive. More important, they will also increase the range of choice to include more discriminate, less brutal, less suicidal responses to attack–responses that are more believable. And only a politically believable response will deter.

In other words, the Wohlstetters held that credible deterrence need not rely on a choice between indiscriminate, massively destructive, and therefore implausible forms of nuclear retaliation — or no response at all. Rather, a principal aim of responsible nuclear-age strategic competition should be to increase the range of credible (and especially non-nuclear) responses available to decisionmakers, especially against limited-nuclear and less-than-nuclear aggression, and by so doing to strengthen U.S. deterrence. Albert explained:

Some technologies reduce the range of political choice; some increase it. If our concern about technology getting beyond political control is genuine rather than rhetorical, then we should actively encourage the development of techniques that increase the possibilities of political control. There will be a continuing need for the exercise of thought to make strategic forces secure and discriminatingly responsive to our aims, and to do this as economically as we can.

Although the Wohlstetters were skeptical of many of the arms controllers’ canonical dogmas, this did not mean that they saw arms control agreements as having no utility. Rather, they viewed such agreements as being useful within clear limits. “Agreements with adversaries can play a useful role, but they cannot replace national choice,” Albert pointed out in “Racing Forward? Or Ambling Back?” But he added: “Neither the agreements nor the national choices are aided by the sort of hysteria implicit in theories of a strategic race always on the point of exploding.”

In the early 1980s, Albert and Roberta would draft an essay titled On Arms Control: What We Should Look for in an Arms Agreement, which provides insight into what they viewed to be — and not to be — viable approaches for arms control agreements. And in the mid-1980s, Albert and his Pan Heuristics colleague, Brian Chow, would co-author a detailed technical proposal for an arms control agreement to establish self-defense zones in space. (Nuclear Heuristics includes a condensed summary of this proposed agreement as published in the Wall Street Journal.)

The Study’s Aftermath.

The Wohlstetters’ study on the nature of the U.S.-USSR strategic competition exerted influence and elicited controversy in the mid-to-late 1970s. Most notably, their study would form part of the larger context for the so-called “Team B” experiment in competitive intelligence analysis. First suggested by members of the Ford Administration’s Presidential Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB) in August 1975, this experiment was officially begun by Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) George H. W. Bush and President Ford’s National Security Advisor, Brent Scowcroft, in June 1976.

A now-declassified December 1976 memorandum provides a summary of the “Team B” exercise from the White House’s point of view. The experiment would begin with two groups, an “A” team composed of members of the Intelligence Community that would prepare “the 1976 estimate of Soviet forces for intercontinental attack . . . in accordance with established Community practices,” and a “B” team composed of “experts inside or outside of government” that would prepare an alternate assessment. Both teams would be provided with the same body of intelligence information, and each would work to arrive at independent conclusions about three specific topics: namely, “[1] Soviet ICBM accuracy, [2] Soviet low altitude air defense capability, and [3] Soviet strategic policy objectives.” Both teams would have access to each other’s final products and be allowed to write comments on each other’s assessments. Finally, the National Security Advisor, in consultation with the DCI and PFIAB, would review and critique the highly classified results.

In December 1976, Team B completed its Top Secret final report, Intelligence Community Experiment in Competitive Analysis: Soviet Strategic Objectives: An Alternative View. Two months earlier, however, information about the exercise had already been leaked to the Boston Globe and Washington Star. The resulting news stories had set off a politicized firestorm within Washington that prevented dispassionate public discussion of the intelligence experiment’s pluses and minuses. Although the highest levels of the Ford Administration had authorized the Team B exercise, critics insistently viewed this experiment in competitive intelligence analysis as nothing more than a direct assault on the Nixon and Ford Administrations’ policy of d├ętente with the Soviet Union.

Wohlstetter had declined an invitation to join Team B. Nonetheless, a number of journalists and opinion-makers would mistakenly assert that he had worked on the intelligence experiment. In response to a January 4, 1977, op-ed by Joseph Kraft in the Washington Post, Albert wrote a letter to the editor to correct the public record: “I had no part in the team that recently took an independent look at past and present national intelligence estimates. Nor have I seen their report.”

These controversies notwithstanding, Albert and Roberta’s study on arms racing helped to reframe Washington’s understanding of the U.S.-USSR strategic competition. Indeed, key government decisionmakers would publicly refute the “mirror-imaging” assessments of Soviet nuclear spending and procurement that had led some arms controllers to claim that while the USSR wanted only to field a “minimum deterrent,” U.S. actions were activating an action-reaction dynamic that was forcing the Soviets to build more weapons and sparking an unnecessary nuclear arms race. On that point, President Carter’s Secretary of Defense, Harold Brown, would famously observe before a joint meeting of the Senate and House budget committees in 1979: “Soviet spending has shown no response to U.S. restraint — when we build, they build; when we cut, they build.”

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To read more of Robert Zarate’s introduction to Nuclear Heuristics: Selected Writings of Albert and Roberta Wohlstetter (2009):

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For more, check out:

  • Albert Wohlstetter, “Is There a Strategic Arms Race?”, Foreign Policy, No. 15 (Summer 1974), pp. 3-20.
  • Albert Wohlstetter, “Rivals, But No ‘Race’,” Foreign Policy, No. 16 (Fall 1974), pp. 48-81.
  • Albert Wohlstetter, Legends of the Strategic Arms Race, USSI Report 75-1 (Washington, DC: United States Strategic Institute, September 1974).
  • Albert Wohlstetter, “Clocking the Strategic Arms Race,” opinion, Wall Street Journal, September 24, 1974, p. 24.
  • Albert Wohlstetter, Thomas Brown, Gregory Jones, David McGarvey, Robert Raab, Arthur Steiner, Roberta Wohlstetter and Zivia Wurtele, The Strategic Competition: Perceptions and Response, final report for the Director of Defense Research and Engineering (Net Technical Assessment), DAHC 15-73-C-0137 (Los Angeles, CA: PAN Heuristics, January 14, 1975). PDF version available online at Albert Wohlstetter Dot Com.
  • Albert Wohlstetter, Thomas Brown, Gregory Jones, David McGarvey, Robert Raab, Arthur Steiner, Roberta Wohlstetter and Zivia Wurtele, Methods That Obscure and Methods That Clarify the Strategic Competition, final report for the Director of Defense Research and Engineering (Net Technical Assessment), DAHC 15-73-C-0074 (Los Angeles, CA: PAN Heuristics, June 30, 1975). PDF version available online at Albert Wohlstetter Dot Com.
  • Albert Wohlstetter, “Optimal Ways to Confuse Ourselves,” Foreign Policy, No. 20 (Fall 1975), pp. 170-198.
  • Albert Wohlstetter, “Racing Forward? Or Ambling Back?,” Survey, Vol. 22. Nos. 3/4 (Summer 1976), pp. 161-217. Updated 1977 version reprinted in Robert Zarate and Henry Sokolski, eds., Nuclear Heuristics: Selected Writings of Albert and Roberta Wohlstetter (Strategic Studies Institute, 2009).
  • Albert Wohlstetter, “Racing Forward? Or Ambling Back?,” in Robert Conquest, Defending America (New York, NY: Basic Books, 1977). Reprinted in Robert Zarate and Henry Sokolski, eds., Nuclear Heuristics: Selected Writings of Albert and Roberta Wohlstetter (Strategic Studies Institute, 2009).

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