Mindful of the different classes of adversaries in the 21st Century and recent U.S. policy statements regarding the Triad and the strategy for employing U.S. nuclear forces, an ad hoc committee will:
1. Identify the broad analytic issues and factors that must be considered in seeking nuclear deterrence of adversaries and assurance of allies in the 21st Century.
2. Describe and assess tools, methods—including behavioral science-based methods—and approaches for improving the understanding of how nuclear deterrence and assurance work or may fail in the 21st Century and the extent to which such failures might be averted or mitigated by the proper choice of nuclear systems, technological capabilities, postures, and concepts of operation of American nuclear forces.1
3. Discuss the implications for the Air Force and how it could best respond to these deterrence and assurance needs. Include in this discussion a framework for identifying the risks and benefits associated with different nuclear force postures, structures, levels, and concepts of operation.
1 The committee interpreted this to mean that it should describe and assess methods and tools that would help both (1) in improving and understanding deterrence and (2) in helping to understand how nuclear forces, posture, technological capabilities, and concepts of operations can improve prospects or mitigate failures. The committee and the Air Force sponsor understood that the study was not going to make recommendations about force structure and the like.
4. Recommend criteria and a framework for validating the tools, methods, and approaches; and for identifying those most promising for Air Force usage.
5. Recommend an appropriate mix of the classes of analytical tools affordable in today’s austere financial climate, and identify what can be planned for by the Air Force as future improvements to this mix if and should defense budgets increase or decrease.