Selective Options and Limited Responses, 1974–83
The period between 1968 and 1974 may fairly be characterized as one of continuity in strategic doctrine. On 15 March 1971 Secretary of Defense Laird announced that the Nixon Administration would follow a new nuclear doctrine called ‘Strategic Sufficiency’. The defining concept of this new doctrine — maintaining a secure second strike that ‘assured no incentive for a first strike’ and the capability to ensure vast Soviet economic and civil damage — did not distinguish it from Assured Destruction, although the targeting options were somewhat more massive. Yet when events in the nuclear relations of the superpowers ultimately cast doubt on the intermediate strategic options that an Assured Destruction approach required, the very massiveness of these ‘sufficiency’ options became a drawback.
KeywordsNuclear Weapon Limited Response Flexible Response Ballistic Missile Selective Option
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