Nuclear Modernization in the 21st Century: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Nuclear Modernization in the 21st Century

1st Edition

Edited by Aiden Warren, Philip M. Baxter


248 pages

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Hardback: 9781138350557
pub: 2020-03-11
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This collection examines the extent to which nuclear weapons modernization has become a significant point of concern and consideration in international security. Recent statements and substantial investments by nuclear weapon possessor states in the upkeep and modernization of their nuclear postures – particularly the United States, Russia and China – illustrate a return of primacy and the salience of nuclear forces in international politics. The upgrading of systems, the introduction of new capabilities, the intermingling of new technologies, and the advancement of new strategic models, are all indicative of their elevation in importance and reliance.

With contributions from leading thinkers in the nuclear weapons domain, this book elucidates the global strategic and policy implications such modernization efforts by the above-mentioned states will have on international security. In unpacking and conceptualizing this developing source of potential (in)security and tension, the collection not only provides a technical context, but also frames the likely effects modernization could have on the relations between these nuclear weapon powers and the larger impact upon efforts to curb nuclear weapons – both in terms of horizontal and vertical proliferation. The chapters have been arranged so as to inform a variety of stakeholders, from academics to policy-makers, by connecting analytical and normative insights, and thereby, advancing debates pertaining to where nuclear modernization sits as a point of global security consternation in the 21st Century. 


"For too long, academia, as well as international policy communities, have spoken in vague terms regarding nuclear modernization. This book provides a much needed, and long overdue, conceptual and comparative study of nuclear modernization in the United States, Russia and China. At a time when so many nuclear weapons states are modernizing their arsenals, and arms control seems to be in decline, this is a must-read for nuclear scholars and practitioners." - Nicola Leveringhaus, King's College London, UK.

"Warren and Baxter's new collection of essays is good news for scholars, students, and the policy community. The clear-eyed and concisely written chapters provide a rock solid survey of nuclear modernization underway in the US, Russia, and China. The diverse, mostly younger group of scholars and practitioners also examines the implications nuclear modernization may have for nonproliferation, for international security more generally, and perhaps even for international relations. The ladder may seem unlikely, but in a world where efforts to limit and manage nuclear arsenals are being tossed aside, and where the three largest nuclear powers eye the actions of others with suspicion, today's nuclear modernizations may yet prove to be a pathway to a very different future. Some analyst would welcome that outcome, even as others offer warnings, but all of them will find Nuclear Modernization in the 21st Century a useful guide to an uncertain future." - James J. Walsh, MIT, Massachusetts, USA.

"As a new nuclear arms race looms, this important and timely volume assembles leading experts to provide cutting-edge analyses of the plans and programs of the United States, Russia and China to spend billions of dollars on the modernization of their nuclear arsenals. This will be the go-to volume for understanding the new weapons technologies of the major nuclear-weapons states, as well as the likely impact of these ever more sophisticated and dangerous arsenals on global security, stability, and the prospects for proliferation. It will be essential reading for policymakers and academics alike." - Nina Tannenwald, Brown University, USA.

"Warren and Baxter have collected the contributions of standout global experts who examine and analyze the nuclear modernization programs underway and on the drawing board in the U.S., Russia and China. Nuclear Modernization in the 21st Century explores the motivations for these programs, their consequences for nuclear deterrence, for future arms control initiatives, for the health of the international nuclear nonproliferation regime, and for pursuit of the elusive goal of strategic stability. Whether one believes nuclear weapons are essential to prevent another Great Power War and must be part of the security equation indefinitely, or that their use under any circumstances is illegal and immoral, those of us who have worked on these issues understand that it is far from a black and white issue. This excellent contribution to the literature and discourse may not change your views, but it will most certainly better inform them." - Ambassador Susan F. Burk, Former Special Representative to the President of the United States for Nuclear Nonproliferation.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction

Aiden Warren and Philip M. Baxter

Chapter 2: U.S. Modernization Efforts and the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review

Hans M. Kristensen

Chapter 3: Russia’s Nuclear Modernization

Philip M. Baxter

Chapter 4: U.S.-Russian Bilateral Disarmament

Cameron Trainer

Chapter 5: Chinese Nuclear Strategy

Susan Turner Haynes

Chapter 6: U.S. Nuclear Weapons Modernization and the Impact on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Regime

Aiden Warren

Chapter 7: NATO Nuclear Modernization

Steven Pifer

Chapter 8: Through a Crystal Ball, Dimly: Nuclear Modernization’s Anticipated Effects on International Relations Theory

Balazs Martonffy and Eleni Ekmektsioglou

Chapter 9: Modernization a Determent to International Security

Kingston Reif and Alicia Sanders-Zakre

Chapter 10: Modernization as a Promoter of International Security: The Special Role of U.S. Nuclear Weapons

Matthew Kroenig and Christian Trotti

Chapter 11: Afterword

Philip M. Baxter and Aiden Warren

About the Editors

Aiden Warren is an Associate Professor of International Relations at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia. He is the 2018-19 Fulbright Scholar in Australia-United States Alliance Studies, sponsored by the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT).

Philip M. Baxter is a Research Fellow with the Center for Policy Research at the University of Albany, founder and director of a data analytics and consultancy firm, and a Ph.D. Candidate in International Affairs, Science, and Technology at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

About the Series

Modern Security Studies

Modern Security Studies
This series fills a known gap in modern security studies literature by pursuing a curated, forward-looking editorial approach on looming and evergreen security challenges.  Short and long form works will be considered with an eye towards developing content that is widely suitable for instruction and research alike.  Works adhere around the series’ four main categories: Controversies, Cases, Trends and Primers.  We invite proposals that pay particular attention to controversies in international security, notably those that have resulted in newly exposed and poorly defined risks to non-state legitimacy, international or state capacities to act, and shifts in global governance.  Case studies should examine recent historical events and security-related actions that have altered present day understanding or political calculations.  Trends will need to detail future yet tangible concerns in a 5-10 year timeframe.  Authors are also invited to submit proposals to our primers category for short form works on key topics that are referenced and taught throughout security studies.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / Arms Control