Date of Graduation

Spring 2015


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

Mark Schneider


Russia, regional nuclear strategy, non-strategic nuclear weapons, limited nuclear use, nuclear de-escalation

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies


The recent downturn in NATO-Russian relations has prompted analysts to question Russia's military strategy in Europe. Due to its deficiencies in conventional weapons, Russia will be forced to primarily rely on nuclear weapons should NATO and Russia come into conflict. Thus, it becomes necessary to scrutinize Russia's nuclear strategy at a regional level. This report assesses Russia's regional nuclear strategy for Europe. In doing so, it examines Russian military documents, military exercises, force procurements, and official statements. This research pays particular attention to three main questions: 1. How is Russia's nuclear force posture developing in the near and medium term? 2. Can Russia contain conflict escalation after limited nuclear usage? And 3. What implications does Russia's limited use strategy have for NATO? Indeed, as relations worsen it has become exceedingly necessary for NATO to fully evaluate how it may expect Russia to use its nuclear weapons, both politically and militarily, during a major crisis.


© Harrison Stephen Menke

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