Assertive Disarmament: the Other Arms Control


Rodney Kaylor

Date of Graduation

Fall 2001


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

William Van Cleave


Assertive disarmament is the use of military force to delay or terminate the progress of nascent or ongoing nuclear, biological, and chemical weapon programs along with, perhaps, their associated ballistic missile programs. Such capabilities in the hands of hostile powers increasingly threaten the population and assets of the United States. Moreover, the foreign policy and military strategy of the United States depend upon a forward global presence, and nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons and ballistic missiles available to adversaries of the United States complicate U.S. military strategy and decision making. As a U.S. policy option to augment current Department of Defense counterproliferation strategies, assertive disarmament could prove useful in cases where the proliferation threat is especially urgent. Assertive disarmament has also been used successfully in the past. It is an option not without risk, however, and U.S. decision-makers should consider the political implications and military requirements of assertive disarmament attack carefully. Assertive disarmament also requires selectivity, and only those nations that are particularly threatening should be considered as potential candidates. This thesis examines the political and military advisability and utility of assertive disarmament.

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies


© Rodney Kaylor