Intelligence and the NPR

  • Charles Ball
Part of the Initiatives in Strategic Studies: Issues and Policies book series (ISSIP)


The 2001 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) elicited even more than the usual amount of Sturm und Drang associated with the public articulation of nuclear strategies and doctrines. A careful reading of the NPR, however, reveals that many of the inferences drawn from the Bush administration’s new nuclear thinking reflect the predispositions of the interpreters rather than the intent of the authors. To be sure, the NPR recommends pursuing research on “improved nuclear earth penetrating weapons (EPWs) to counter the increased use by potential adversaries of hardened and deeply buried facilities, and warheads that reduce collateral damage.”1 Still, these modest recommendations constitute neither a radical departure from past U.S. nuclear practice nor the most significant aspect of the 2001 NPR. What truly distinguishes this NPR from earlier nuclear policy reviews is its espousal of a reduced reliance on nuclear weapons alone and its focus on the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction (WMD) that are proliferating to a number of state and possibly even non-state actors that are hostile to the United States.


Nuclear Weapon Intelligence Collection Mass Destruction Bush Administration Intelligence Community 
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Copyright information

© James J. Wirtz and Jeffrey A. Larsen 2005

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  • Charles Ball

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