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Organization Theory and Nuclear Proliferation

Organization Theory and Nuclear Proliferation

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Organization Theory and Nuclear Proliferation

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  1. Organization Theory and Nuclear Proliferation History 5N: The Challenge of Nuclear Weapons

  2. Assumption of Rationality • Government leaders may intend to behave rationally, but they are influenced by organizational actors and constraints • Organizational rationality is “bounded” • Organizations use standard operating procedures and routines • Organizations satisfice • Organizations siphon information • Members are heavily influenced by past experiences • “Goal displacement”

  3. Bureaucratic Politics • Organizational actors are “self interested and competitive sub-units” • Policy sometimes reflects the narrow interests of individual organizations, not the national interests of the state

  4. Offensive Doctrines • New proliferators may lack civilian control of stockpiles • Military organizations have strong proclivities toward offensive doctrines • See war as an inevitable end: the “better now than later logic” • Incentive to implement “standard scenario” • More likely to support preventive war

  5. First Operational Requirement for Deterrence • First operational requirement for deterrence: “the first state to acquire weapons must not attack its rival in a preventive war now, in order to avoid the risk of a worse war after the second state has acquired a large nuclear arsenal.” • Evidence proves that even in the United States government there was strong support for preventive war • In the Truman Administration the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) were in support of first strike doctrines • In the Eisenhower Administration key military officers supported preventive options • Other examples: • Russian military leaders considered a preventive war on China

  6. Second Operational Requirement of Deterrence • The second operational requirement of deterrence is that both sides have invulnerable second-strike nuclear forces • The United States gained invulnerable forces only after civilians forced the production of new weapons systems • Submarine Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBMs) were opposed by US Navy leadership, hoping that Strategic Air Command would pick up the cost • Intercontinental Ballistic Missles (ICBMs) were not a priority in the Air Forces budget

  7. Third Operational Requirement of Deterrence • The final operational requirement is that nuclear arsenals are secure from accidents and unauthorized use • Unfortunately, organizations change standard operating procedures after the threat has been noticed • Evidence from US experience • Test missile fired from Vandenberg Air Force base during Cuban Missile Crisis • Staff at a Montana silo gave themselves independent ability to launch missiles • New proliferants will choose an “opaque” path to proliferation, which is even more unstable • Furthermore, new proliferants will not have the same time security that the US and USSR had

  8. Conclusions • The spread of nuclear weapons will make the world less secure • Realists such as Kenneth Waltz have “confused what rational states should do with predictions of real states will do.” • Organizational theory yields a troubling outlook on nuclear proliferations • Three policy implications: • US should maintain its non-proliferation policy • The international community should be convinced that non-proliferation is not only in US interests but for global security • If proliferation does occur, the US should consider helping organizations develop the safety mechanisms to help them achieve deterrent capability and secure systems