Delaying Decisions: NATO's Deterrence and Defense Posture Review

On May 20th heads of state will gather in Chicago for the 2012 NATO Summit, demonstrating the alliance's "strong solidarity even in difficult economic times."[1] They are expected to discuss the results of the Deterrence and Defense Posture Review (DDPR) ordered at NATO's 2010 Lisbon summit. The DDPR is meant to articulate how NATO can contribute to nuclear disarmament efforts while also providing sufficient military forces to uphold the alliance's mutual security guarantee in the eyes of both members and potential aggressors. However, little progress is likely to be realized, with critical decisions on NATO's deterrence and defense posture expected to be delayed for at least an additional year or two.

This brief will provide background on the genesis of the DDPR and the deployment of U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe. It will then examine options for the future deployment of those weapons, as well as other measures that policymakers are likely to consider to provide deterrence, reassurance, and burden-sharing in the alliance in the years ahead.

Why a Deterrence and Defense Posture Review (DDPR)?

At the 2010 NATO Summit in Lisbon, NATO was tasked with undertaking a comprehensive review of the alliance's deterrence capabilities in response to a changing security environment. The first of its kind, the review was initiated after it became clear that the new Strategic Concept announced in Lisbon would not sufficiently resolve nuclear weapons policy disputes within the alliance. The DDPR also sought to create a firmer foundation for the alliance's new missile defense policy, as agreed to at the Lisbon Summit, and to provide a strategic framework for efforts to cooperate with Russia on missile defense.

President Barack Obama's 2009 Prague speech precipitated calls by some allies, led by Germany, for the removal of U.S. non-strategic nuclear weapons from Europe-and equally strong calls by other allies, and particularly from those formerly part of the Warsaw Pact, to retain the deployments. Meanwhile, many NATO members-and especially Germany-also called for the alliance to align its declaratory policy with the recently revised policies of the United States and the United Kingdom, which promised no nuclear weapons use against non-nuclear weapon states in compliance with their commitments to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).[2] Although U.S. and British nuclear weapons[3] represent the bulk of NATO's weapons, the alliance as a whole continued to maintain a declaratory policy that did not include this kind of "negative security assurance," which has long been sought by non-nuclear weapon states.[4] This situation highlighted a fundamental challenge to NATO's strategic policy that has been pointed to by a number of retired high-level European defense officials: given that all decisions on nuclear weapons use are ultimately made at the national level (for NATO, in the United States and the United Kingdom specifically), the existence of a nuclear policy for the NATO alliance as a whole is of questionable relevance.

In the run-up to the Lisbon Summit, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Norway began calling for "the inclusion of sub-strategic nuclear weapons in subsequent steps towards nuclear disarmament."[5] Newer NATO states from Central Europe and the Baltics insisted that U.S. nuclear weapons continue to play an important reassurance role by symbolizing the "coupling" of U.S. and European security. These states further argued that withdrawing the remaining nuclear weapons could embolden Russia, which these states still regard as a potential threat, particularly following the five-day Russo-Georgian war in 2008. This attitude was shared by Turkey, which saw value in having nuclear weapons on its territory given a range of other security challenges (including Iran), and the weapons' tangible embodiment of continued U.S. commitment to Turkey and the alliance.[6] At the same time, Turkey strongly suggested it would not remain the only NATO member to host U.S. nuclear weapons. France, a nuclear weapon state which did not want to see the role of nuclear weapons in the alliance weakened, joined ranks with "new" members in opposition to both the withdrawal of U.S. non-strategic nuclear weapons from Europe and changes to the alliance's declaratory policies.

The primary concern of the United States throughout these debates has been to ensure that nuclear policy disputes not disrupt alliance cohesion. Additionally, the Obama administration, egged on by Republican members of Congress, hoped to use the U.S. non-strategic nuclear weapons still in Europe as a potential bargaining chip to encourage Russia to make cuts to its much larger arsenal of similar weapons. At an April 2010 meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Tallinn, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton advanced a potential U.S.-endorsed compromise consisting of five principles:

  • NATO should remain a nuclear alliance;
  • As a nuclear alliance, member states should share risks and responsibilities;
  • NATO should reduce the role and number of nuclear weapons;
  • NATO allies should pursue territorial missile defense;
  • NATO should cooperate with Russia to "increase transparency on non-strategic nuclear weapons in Europe, relocate these weapons away from the territory of NATO members, and include non-strategic nuclear weapons in the next round of U.S.-Russian arms control discussions alongside strategic and non-deployed nuclear weapons."[7]

The alliance endorsed all five of these principles in the 2010 Strategic Concept. To advance a process for addressing non-strategic nuclear weapons while still deferring action on the actual deployments, NATO further agreed to discuss the matter of non-strategic nuclear weapons as a stand-alone process, through the DDPR. Doing so left the door open to potential changes that might satisfy Germany and other like-minded alliance members without requiring major compromises by the United States, France, and the "new" members. The DDPR was also tasked with identifying the proper role for missile defense in NATO's security policy, and in ongoing discussions with Russia.

Internal Debates over NATO's Nuclear Policies

Nuclear policy has been the most contentious issue facing the DDPR. The United States first deployed non-strategic nuclear weapons in Europe in 1953, placing them in Belgium, France, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and West Germany. By 1960, U.S. deployments in Europe had swelled to 3,000, and peaked in 1971 at 7,300 weapons. The total arsenal included Lance, Sergeant, Honest John, and Pershing surface-to-surface missiles; Nike-Hercules surface-to-air missiles; 155mm and 203mm artillery shells; nuclear bombs and Walleye air-to-surface missiles; nuclear depth bombs; and more than 500 bombers capable of launching air-to-surface nuclear missiles. An estimated 2,500 U.S. weapons were also stationed at sea. The weapons remained under U.S. control to avoid violating the NPT's rules on transfer of nuclear weapons to non-nuclear weapon states.[8] In case of conflict, however, provisions were made for some of these weapons to be transferred to NATO states trained and equipped for the nuclear mission.

The United States began to draw down the number of deployed weapons throughout the 1970s and 1980s, preferring to replace them with more sophisticated and accurate weapons. Then in 1991, Presidents George H.W. Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev launched the Presidential Nuclear Initiatives, unilateral commitments by both countries. Among other reductions, the PNIs led to massive drawdowns in the number of non-strategic nuclear weapons deployed in Europe. Though non-binding, under the PNIs both the United States and the Soviet Union (subsequently Russia) agreed to remove non-strategic nuclear weapons mounted on land-based missiles and artillery shells, as well as a portion of naval-based warheads and some air-based weapons. In most cases, these weapons were to be relocated from European territories to a central storage location.[9] However, because the PNIs were non-binding and did not include any transparency measures, it is uncertain exactly how many weapons have been redeployed from Europe or altogether eliminated. Russia claims it has reduced its arsenal of non-strategic nuclear weapons by 75%.[10]

By the early 2000s, the United States had successfully drawn down its non-strategic nuclear weapons in Europe to about 500. The process quietly continued. Today there are only an estimated 150 to 200 U.S. warheads deployed in Europe, all B-61 gravity bombs, and another 300 are said to be stored in the United States "for possible overseas deployment in support of extended deterrence to allies and partners worldwide."[11] Reduction in the number of warheads has necessarily also led to a reduction of deployment sites. Since 2001, the United States has withdrawn weapons from the Araxos air base in Greece and the RAF Lakenheath air base in the United Kingdom, and weapons remain at six airbases in five European countries: Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey. The weapons in Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands are intended for use by planes and pilots of those countries, and those in Turkey and Italy by a combination of U.S. and national aircraft.[12] Current planes used in this role are capable of flying both nuclear and conventional missions, making them "dual-capable aircraft" (DCA), while new European conventional aircraft, such as the Eurofighter, are slated to possess only conventional capabilities.

Meanwhile throughout the post-Cold War period, NATO had expanded eastward, leaving most of the remaining non-strategic weapons far from the alliance's borders, and leading to a significant reduction in any feasible military roles for these short-range assets. Under the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act, NATO pledged "three nos" to Russia stating that the alliance "[has] no intention, no plan and no reason to deploy nuclear weapons on the territory of new members, nor any need to change any aspect of NATO's nuclear posture or nuclear policy - and [does] not foresee any future need to do so."[13]

Russian Perspectives on NATO's Nuclear Policies

Throughout NATO's internal debates, the Russian position on non-strategic nuclear weapons has remained fundamentally unchanged since the mid-1990s: Russia will not discuss its non-strategic nuclear weapons at arms control negotiations unless and until the United States withdraws all of its non-strategic nuclear weapons from Europe.[14] In diplomatic parlance this condition is formulated as the principle that nuclear weapons should only be based in the national territories of nuclear weapon states. A less known element of the Russian position is the demand for dismantlement of all infrastructure associated with non-strategic nuclear weapons (such as storage facilities). This condition applies not only in "old" NATO countries where U.S. nuclear weapons were or still are located, but also to storage facilities constructed for Soviet-era nuclear weapons in the territories of former Warsaw Pact countries, which have since joined NATO. The dismantlement of storage facilities is intended to reduce the likelihood of non-strategic nuclear weapons' reintroduction into Europe, and in the case of former Warsaw Pact countries, of the likelihood that NATO nuclear weapons will be moved eastward. Russian military leaders have repeatedly pointed out that the NATO "three no's" policy is a political rather than a legally binding commitment, and as such reversible.

The rationale behind the Russian position is straightforward: in the past NATO needed non-strategic nuclear weapons to deter superior Warsaw Pact conventional forces (although many experts in Moscow question the extent of that superiority), but now NATO has an even bigger advantage over Russia in conventional forces, and has no need to retain non-strategic nuclear weapons in Europe. Russia, on the other hand, needs non-strategic nuclear assets to offset NATO's conventional superiority; for that reason it will retain a sizeable (although unspecified) arsenal of non-strategic nuclear weapons even after the United States withdraws its B-61 bombs from Europe.

A closer look reveals, however, that the Russian position is to a large extent based on domestic politics. Political considerations include a reluctance to sacrifice one of the few areas where Russia has an advantage without matching concessions, and insufficient clarity concerning how limitations and reductions could be verified. For non-strategic nuclear weapons, accounting would need to take place at the nuclear warhead level. A considerably more intrusive verification system would therefore be required as compared with the delivery vehicles based accounting system used for strategic arms control. Domestic support for opening new facilities to on-site inspections, and for a warhead-level accounting criterion, is absent among the Russian military.[15] The demand that U.S. non-strategic nuclear weapons be withdrawn from Europe as a precondition for talks on that category of nuclear weapons has served as a defense against the need to make politically costly and complicated decisions.

Russia has therefore been playing off of NATO's internal incoherence, and any signs that the alliance might agree on non-strategic nuclear weapons withdrawals appear to worry Moscow that it might be forced to honor its promises concerning the preconditions for negotiating reductions in its own arsenal. As such, the Russian government has begun expanding its list of conditions. During ratification of the New START Treaty, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced that Russia could only agree to begin negotiations on non-strategic nuclear weapons as part of a broader discussion of all elements of the strategic balance between the United States/NATO and Russia; that balance also includes, he said, conventional strategic weapons, space-based weapons, missile defense, and the imbalance in conventional forces.[16] In one meeting after another, whether official or behind closed doors, Russian representatives complained that the United States and NATO only wanted to discuss their own agenda (i.e., non-strategic nuclear weapons), and to avoid issues that dominate the Russian agenda (e.g., missile defense and the other issues listed by Lavrov). More recently, Russian officials appear to have broadened their set of demands yet again to include not only a withdrawal of U.S. non-strategic weapons to the United States, but also an end to nuclear sharing among NATO allies.[17]

This expanded position has two equally relevant implications. On the one hand, it strengthens Russia's ability to avoid or at least postpone talks on non-strategic nuclear weapons. Even if the original conditions were met, Russia would still resist talks on non-strategic nuclear weapons unless these were embedded in a much broader set of issues. On the other hand, it enhances Russia's leverage vis-à-vis the United States and NATO: since Western interest in achieving progress on non-strategic nuclear weapons appears strong, an agreement to begin discussions could be used to achieve movement on other issues of concern to Russia.

What the DDPR Might Say on Non-Strategic Nuclear Weapons

According to NATO officials familiar with the High Level Group report on nuclear policy for the DDPR, the underlying policy and force structure that are likely to emerge from the review are still very close to what was foreseen under the 2010 Strategic Concept. Positions of the "old" and "new" camps in Europe, including in France, have not shifted significantly. While the details and precise language of final decisions for the Chicago summit have not been released and are subject to last-minute changes, it is already clear that the withdrawal of U.S. non-strategic nuclear weapons from Europe is not feasible at this time, and therefore the stalemate will continue. This will satisfy Moscow; the trajectory of debates within NATO seems to play into Russia's hands by enabling it to maintain its traditional position on non-strategic nuclear weapons. Paradoxically, the stalemate also satisfies NATO, as the alliance will not need to make difficult decisions and can comfortably stick to the consensus it reached in Lisbon, conditioning changes in its nuclear policy on progress vis-à-vis Russia's non-strategic nuclear weapons.

Still, there may be opportunities at the Chicago summit for some incremental progress on non-strategic nuclear weapons, particularly in the areas of transparency and confidence-building measures, thus laying the foundations for more far-reaching changes. In an April 2011 Non-Paper, ten member states (Poland, Norway, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Iceland, Luxemburg, and Slovenia) called for information sharing regarding "numbers, types, locations, command arrangements, operational status, and level of storage security" of non-strategic nuclear weapons.[18] Similarly, Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance Rose Gottemoeller remarked in August 2011 that the Obama administration would seek "to increase transparency on a reciprocal basis with Russia" by solidifying what information the United States and Russia would share about their nuclear arsenals (e.g., specific details regarding weapons stockpiles and siting; what types of weapons would be included in inspections; and information about support systems). Gottemoeller also asserted that, "Our conversation with Russia must include defining what exactly constitutes a nonstrategic nuclear weapon."[19]

Creating a more open environment surrounding non-strategic nuclear weapons, including sharing information through the NATO-Russia Council and disclosing the details of the redeployments that occurred under the PNIs and subsequently, would by itself ease some concerns about the weapons and their deployment locations. For example, information sharing might ease concerns about the suspected presence of Russian weapons in the Kaliningrad region or other areas close to NATO borders. It would also provide a realistic baseline for eventual NATO-Russia negotiations.

One welcome confidence-building measure in particular would be to allow Russian inspectors to inspect former storage facilities for non-strategic nuclear weapons. These inspections could encompass facilities from which the United States has since withdrawn nuclear weapons (e.g., Greece), or which have agreed not to host U.S. non-strategic nuclear weapons (e.g., Eastern Europe). Eastern European countries could also potentially remove their nuclear-weapons-related infrastructure. Other useful measures, suggested by Senator Sam Nunn, Chairman of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, would involve a series of reciprocal steps, including site visits and joint threat and security assessments aimed at assuring the security of Russian and U.S. tactical nuclear weapons stockpiles.

Finally, it is possible the summit might lay the basis for longer-term changes. For example, the alliance could pursue two tracks. On one track, the alliance could assess basing and nuclear burden-sharing options that represent an alternative to the status quo. Such options might better support nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament goals, while also still ensuring broad alliance participation in deterrence missions and reassurance for vulnerable member states. Second, NATO could strengthen non-nuclear reassurance through changes to both policy and assets to further ease the concerns of vulnerable states. As part of this effort, the alliance could launch an open discussion about missile defense capabilities and how they can complement nuclear forces.[20]

Together, these two tracks could aim to provide the assurance all member states require to feel safe from nuclear and other threats, while simultaneously minimizing the role of nuclear weapons in NATO's deterrent. Enhancing the role of conventional assets in policy and strategy appears particularly desirable given the limits on the potential role of nuclear weapons that were introduced by the 2010 U.S. Nuclear Posture Review (and which have yet to become a part of NATO policy).

Conclusions and the Path Forward

The DDPR's impact has been hampered from the outset by a lack of clarity and transparency throughout the process. The review was originally assigned to the Deputy Permanent Representatives of member states, but quickly moved up to the North Atlantic Council (NAC) for unknown reasons. The tasking papers distributed to the delegations, and the outside expert briefings provided to them, remain classified. Under the NAC, the review was divided among the High-Level Group (HLG), the Weapons of Mass Destruction and Disarmament Committee (WCDC), and the Defense Policy Planning Committee (DPPC), though the issues the DDPR examines are intrinsically linked and impossible to separate. Roles were not clearly defined for each task force, and the groups were only required to produce policy options, thus precluding the possibility of any concrete recommendations emerging from their reviews. The process was oriented toward finding a consensus rather than developing a sound and comprehensive policy. An additional limitation of the review process was that it was not equipped to handle relations with Russia in sufficient depth.

It is unclear how the DDPR will be integrated into existing NATO defense doctrine, how it will reflect the difficult financial realities imposed by the European debt crisis, or how it may reconcile the differences among NATO member states. Based on the limited information to emerge from NATO throughout the year-and-a-half long DDPR process, it seems unlikely that any bold new ideas or significant changes to the existing NATO nuclear posture will emerge. Budgetary restrictions risk hampering NATO's ability to transition from relying on nuclear forces for deterrence to conventional forces for primary defense and deterrence capabilities; meanwhile, maintenance of the existing nuclear forces will become increasingly difficult without investing additional sums in purchasing new dual-capable aircraft (such as the U.S. F-35), and enhancing the safety and security of weapons storage sites and other infrastructure.

Yet these problems pale in comparison to the risk posed to alliance cohesion by the lack of consensus about the appropriate role of nuclear weapons, and particularly non-strategic nuclear weapons, in NATO's future. Underlying policy differences have not disappeared, and increasingly affect the political and psychological climate in intra-Alliance relations.

To the present, and likely beyond the Chicago summit, NATO has sought to tamp down tensions within the alliance by putting off decisions until later, and hoping that talks with Russia will help resolve the issue. But time is running out on this course. Russia, it is clear, is far more interested in ensuring that NATO rather than itself bears the global burden of addressing the non-strategic nuclear weapons issue, and will not bail out the alliance.

Meanwhile, several of the countries still hosting nuclear weapons must decide if they will purchase new dual-capable aircraft (DCA). Germany is first in line to replace its fleet, and the German Bundestag and current German coalition government have both publicly committed not to purchase DCA, instead selecting the Eurofighter as Germany's primary combat aircraft (which must be modified in order to carry nuclear weapons, something the Bundestag is unlikely to authorize).[21] Most NATO insiders believe that Belgium and the Netherlands are likely to follow whatever course Germany decides. Should the three countries opt not to buy new DCA, the B61s would also likely be withdrawn from these countries' bases as the current planes leave service; extension of the planes' service lives, which many now regard as a way out of the emerging conundrum, will buy only a few extra years. Absent an agreed upon NATO strategy, such withdrawals are likely to exacerbate existing strains and finger-pointing within the alliance.

Since the status quo is not likely to be tenable for much longer, NATO faces the choice of changing its nuclear posture either by default or by design. In light of this prospect, the alliance is likely to consider some of the following options as the debates on NATO's nuclear posture continue beyond the Chicago summit.[22]

  • Consolidation. One response to European decision-making on DCA would be to consolidate all U.S. B-61 bombs in Italy and/or Turkey and pair them only with U.S DCA or with U.S. and European DCA based out of the two countries. In order to demonstrate continued burden-sharing, states that choose to do away with their DCA and basing for B-61s could continue to maintain aircraft capabilities that could be leveraged in case of a crisis. In a variation of this plan, the United States could also opt to train pilots from a variety of NATO member states so as to demonstrate burden-sharing
  • NATO Control. NATO could choose to establish an independent, jointly operated unit of DCA tasked with delivering non-strategic nuclear weapons in addition to any U.S. DCA in Europe. All member states would contribute financially in addition to providing personnel. However, this posture will still require the alliance to answer difficult questions about where these capabilities will be based, with Italy again one possibility.
  • Removal of NSNW/retention of infrastructure. The United States could redeploy all of its non-strategic nuclear weapons to the United States (as it did previously from Asia). The weapons could still be used in a time of crisis, and the United States could also arrange for pilot exchange programs in order to demonstrate burden-sharing. Member states that once maintained U.S. non-strategic nuclear weapons in Europe would keep their storage capabilities up-to-date in case a crisis requires redeployments. Such a withdrawal might be undertaken unilaterally to challenge Russia to make a similar unilateral gesture (perhaps relocating a share of its weapons away from Russia's border), or as part of bilateral U.S-Russia negotiations.

The Role of Reassurance

To make any of these options viable within the alliance, NATO states, and particularly the newest members of the alliance, must feel that the Article V commitment remains robust and dependable. There are several ways NATO, and particularly its most powerful members (the United States and the United Kingdom) might achieve this. These include the growth of alliance missile defenses; declarations of support; and visible NATO activities that, while not militarily significant, demonstrate NATO's presence in those member states perceived as most vulnerable to attack (e.g., conducting air patrol missions).

Assisting member states with the procurement of advanced conventional technologies; ensuring interoperability; improving compliance with member state agreements to spend 2% of GDP on defense each year; and conducting joint exercises would help bolster the alliance's conventional infrastructure while reducing reliance on non-strategic nuclear weapons. However, this option may be hampered by two major factors. The first is the growing budget constraint facing virtually all NATO member states. Europe is mired in financial crisis and threatened by the possibility of a Eurozone collapse. European states are, across the board, attempting to cut their defense budgets. As a result, their contributions to NATO operations and force planning are increasingly limited. Meanwhile, the United States is facing its own budgetary pressures to curtail the size and scope of its conventional capabilities. In January 2012, the Department of Defense released its revised strategic guidance, stating that "our posture in Europe must also evolve" in order to focus increasingly limited resources on the Asia-Pacific region. As part of this evolution, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced the withdrawal of 11,000 U.S. troops from Germany and Italy, More recently, the U.S. House of Representatives amended the 2013 U.S. defense spending bill to cap costs for missile defense at 25% of specified expenses until other NATO members provide their contributions. The move aimed to shift some of the financial burden of this costly project away from the United States and onto similarly cash-strapped allies.

The DDPR must consider the reality of the U.S. conventional drawdown and alliance-wide fiscal restrictions if it is to provide feasible recommendations about the future of NATO's conventional and nuclear forces. At the same time, it is important to pair such adjustments with a plan to reduce nuclear deployments, in order to prevent Russia from interpreting any changes as threatening to its security. It is unlikely that NATO will do away with all of its nuclear weapons in the future. As long as potentially threatening states possess nuclear capabilities, the United States and its NATO allies will retain a deterrent capability. However, that deterrent need not include non-strategic nuclear weapons, and more importantly, should reflect a broad spectrum of alliance capabilities, including missile defenses and conventional forces.

For additional analysis relating to the NATO Summit, see Nikolai Sokov's CNS Feature Story: "NATO-Russia Disputes and Cooperation on Missile Defense."

[1] "Chicago ready to welcome NATO summit in 2012," NATO, 8 December 2011,
[2] U.S. Department of Defense, "Nuclear Posture Review Report," April 2010, p. viii,; and John Duncan, "Strategic Defence and Security Review," remarks as delivered to the UN General Assembly, October 19, 2010,
[3] France considers its nuclear arsenal as complementary to NATO's nuclear weapons but not as committed to NATO in any formal sense. For that reason, it is not part of the alliance's Nuclear Planning Group.
[4] "2010 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons: Final Document," Vol. I, page 21,
[5] Steven Vanackere, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belgium; Guido Westerville, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany; Jean Asselborn, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Luxemburg; Maxime Verhagen, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands; Jonas Gahr Store, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway; to Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Secretary-General of NATO, Feb. 26, 2010,
[6] For a perspective emphasizing the alliance cohesion role of continued nuclear deployments in Turkey, see: Jessica C. Varnum, "Turkey in Transition: Toward or Away from Nuclear Weapons?" in Forecasting Nuclear Proliferation in the 21st Century: Volume 2, A Comparative Perspective, eds. William C. Potter and Gaukhar Mukhatzhanova (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2010), pp. 229-254.
[7] Oliver Meier, "NATO Chief's Remark Highlights Policy Rift," Arms Control Today, May 2010,
[8] Article I of the NPT states that "Each nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to transfer to any recipient whatsoever nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or control over such weapons or explosive devices directly, or indirectly; and not in any way to assist, encourage, or induce any non-nuclear-weapon State to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, or control over such weapons or explosive devices."
[9] Miles Pomper, William Potter, and Nikolai Sokov, "Reducing and Regulating Tactical (Nonstrategic) Nuclear Weapons in Europe," James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, December 2009,, pp. 5-6
[10] Miles Pomper, William Potter, and Nikolai Sokov, "Reducing and Regulating Tactical (Nonstrategic) Nuclear Weapons in Europe," James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, December 2009,, pp. 8-9.
[11] Miles Pomper, William Potter, and Nikolai Sokov, "Reducing and Regulating Tactical (Nonstrategic) Nuclear Weapons in Europe," James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, December 2009,, pp. 8-9; Hans M. Kristensen, Non-Strategic Nuclear Weapons, Special Report No. 3, Federation of American Scientists, May 2012, p. 14; U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Nuclear Posture Review Report, April 6, 2011, pp. xiii, 27,
[12] Hans M. Kristensen, Non-Strategic Nuclear Weapons, Special Report No. 3, Federation of American Scientists, May 2012, pp 17-22 George Perkovich, Malcolm Chalmers, Steven Pifer, Paul Schulte, and Jaclyn Tandler, "Looking Beyond the Chicago Summit: Nuclear Weapons in Europe and the Future of NATO," Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, April 2012,
[13] Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security between NATO and the Russian Federation, 27 May 1997,
[14] A re-stating of the Russian position was made by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in mid-April 2012. He said, specifically, that "to even start talking [about non-strategic nuclear weapons] one should level the ground: remove these weapons to the territories of the state that possesses them, dismantle [associated] infrastructure and then it might be possible to address this topic in a broader context of strategic stability." See: "Obsuzhdat Vooruzhenie Mozhno Posle Vavoda Oruzhiya SShA iz Evropy" [Discussion of Armaments is Possible After Withdrawal of US Arms from Europe], RIA-Novosti, 19 April 2012.
[15] For detailed analysis of the place of NSNW in Russian nuclear policy and for domestic politics of NSNW see Nikolai Sokov, "Russian Perspectives on Nonstrategic Nuclear Weapons," in Tom Nichols, Douglas Stuart and Jeffrey D. McClausland, Tactical Nuclear Weapons and NATO (Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College, 2012).
[16] "Stenogramma Vystupleniya Ministra Inostrannykh Del Rossii S.V. Lavrova na Plenarnom Zasedanii Gosudarstvennoi Dumy Federalnogo Sobraniya Rossiiskoi Federatsii npo Novomy Dogovoru o SNV, Moskva, 14 Yanvarya 2011 goda" [Transcript of a Statement by Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov at a Plenary Meeting of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation on the New START Treaty, January 14, 2011], Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, January 14, 2001, document 20-14-01-2011,
[17] Remarks by Viktor Vasiliev, deputy Russian representative to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, at Vienne Center for Disarmament and Nonproliferation, May 8, 2012. Vasiliev was reading remarks originally prepared by Mikhail Ulyanov, director of the Department for Security Affairs and Disarmament at MFA in Moscow.
[18] Non-paper submitted by Poland, Norway, Germany and the Netherlands on increasing transparency and confidence with regard to tactical nuclear weapons in Europe, p. 1.
[19] "Obama Seeks Further U.S.-Russian Nuke Data Sharing," Global Security Newswire, 5 August 2011, Rose Gottemoeller, "21st Century Deterrence Challenges," Remarks at U.S. Strategic Command 2011 Deterrence Symposium, 4 August 2011.
[20] George Perkovich, Malcolm Chalmers, Steven Pifer, Paul Schulte, and Jaclyn Tandler, "Looking Beyond the Chicago Summit: Nuclear Weapons in Europe and the Future of NATO," Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, April 2012,, p. 1.
[21] George Perkovich, Malcolm Chalmers, Steven Pifer, Paul Schulte, and Jaclyn Tandler, "Looking Beyond the Chicago Summit: Nuclear Weapons in Europe and the Future of NATO," Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, April 2012,, p. 4.
[22] George Perkovich, Malcolm Chalmers, Steven Pifer, Paul Schulte, and Jaclyn Tandler, "Looking Beyond the Chicago Summit: Nuclear Weapons in Europe and the Future of NATO," Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, April 2012,, pp. 6-30.

May 11, 2012

At the May 2012 NATO summit, the alliance will release the results of a Defense and Deterrence Posture Review. The review is expected to yield little progress; critical decisions on NATO’s deterrence and defense posture are expected to be delayed. This brief examines options for the future deployment of U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe as well as other measures that policymakers are likely to consider to provide deterrence, reassurance, and burden-sharing in the alliance in the years ahead.

Miles Pomper

Senior Research Associate, Center for Nonproliferation Studies

Nikolai Sokov

Senior Fellow, Center for Nonproliferation Studies

Meghan Warren

Research Associate, Center for Nonproliferation Studies

This material is produced independently for NTI by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, or agents. Copyright 2019.