April 13, 2021

U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy

Frank C. Miller

In his presentation to the BCFA, Mr. Miller quotes Churchill’s last major speech to Parliament in 1951 to emphasize the unchanging importance of nuclear capabilities since its inception—“safety will be the sturdy child of terror, and survival the twin brother of annihilation.” As other world powers increasingly present their nuclear armament as an offensive ability, the United States must modernize its nuclear systems to enforce an air of deterrence in the international system. The United States must show both the capability and will to replace increasingly obsolete defense systems to protect itself and its allies from encroaching, technologically advancing opponents.


Franklin C. Miller, the former director for defense policy and arms control and the national security council, offers valuable insight into his thoughts on nuclear deterrence. He believes that for successful nuclear deterrence the United States must continually prove that we have the capability and will to utilize nuclear weapons to deter attacks against us and our allies. If we do not consistently prove this to be true, the U.S. is at risk of being tested by other nuclear powers: notably, China and Russia. Miller also argues against the idea that simply banning nuclear weapons will be ineffective. He proves this by pointing out that the number of wars since the creation of nuclear weapons at the end of WWII has decreased significantly. He points out that human nature has not changed, but rather the danger that is invoked by the threat of war has increased.

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