*Abbreviations under the "Available" column: A = Available // NA = Not Available // R = Previously Registered // WL = Currently on the Wait List

The Second Nuclear Age: Weapons and Policy

The Cold War ended more than two decades ago and, with it, thoughts of nuclear war for most of us. Largely unnoticed in the intervening years has been the reemergence of nuclear weapons as a vital element of statecraft and power politics. Now a multipolar world with an increased number of nuclear weapons states is controlled by no single nation. Advances in technology, cyber warfare, and terrorist threats have made the current nuclear age even more complex than the first. Weapons modernization and a weakened treaty regime dominate the news. This course will address the unique characteristics of nuclear weapons and ongoing efforts to prevent their use. We will discuss treaties, weapons proliferation, and controversial issues such as changes in deterrence theories in the face of non-state actors. Growing uncertainty about weapons viability that might lead a potential adversary to challenge the credibility of a national deterrent has sparked a national debate about weapons modernization programs. As fearsome as one might think the nuclear issue is, a better understanding of the many elements of this complicated issue can lead us to better understand the challenges faced by national leaders.

Instructor Bio:

Bill Adams is a retired Air Force research and development officer. He has developed instrumentation to support nuclear weapons testing and led nuclear weapons effects research designed to increase the survivability of military systems to nuclear weapons effects. He has also worked in US and international organizations addressing the political and military implications of nuclear warfare.

Recommended Reading:

Bracken, Paul. The Second Nuclear Age: Strategy, Danger, and the New Power Politics, 2012. Delpech, Thérèse. Nuclear Deterrence in the 21st Century: Lessons from the Cold War for a New Era of Strategic Piracy, 2012.

Course Number Instructor Dates Day Time Location Available
A00 William Adams Sep 11, 18, 25, Oct 2, 9, 16 Mo 9:30-11:00 a.m. SCPS (UVA) A

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