Policy & Politics Security & Conflict

The Nuclear Spectrum

Much of the public discourse on nuclear security is based on the implications of binary scenarios: a nuclear state versus a non-nuclear one. This approach does not account for the fact that beyond these two positions lies a spectrum of relative nuclear capabilities and characteristics. Factors that determine the position of a state in this nuclear spectrum include the size of its nuclear arsenal, its delivery capabilities, the vulnerabilities of its nuclear infrastructure, and its tactical deployment strategy. The state’s relative position, in turn, produces different security implications.