Conventional Conflicts with Nuclear-Armed Powers: Prospects for Escalation Control

Thursday, April 13, 2017
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM

Encina Hall, 2nd floor

  • Jasen Castillo

Abstract: Under what conditions could the United States control escalation in a conventional conflict with a nuclear-armed adversary? The possibility that a dispute between the U.S. and a nuclear-armed opponent remains a contingency policy-makers and military planners should consider. There is growing work on the pathways to nuclear escalation during a conventional conflict, but less on how these armed disputes could end. This paper will explore some of the conditions that favor successful escalation management and the conditions that could make escalation control extremely difficult. The paper also assesses possible U.S. responses to nuclear use by an adversary.

About the Speaker: Jasen J. Castillo is an Associate Professor at Texas A&M University’s George H.W. Bush School of Government and Public Service. He came to the Bush School after serving on the staff of the Policy Planning Office in the U.S. Department of Defense from 2005 to 2007. Before then, he worked at the RAND Corporation and the Institute for Defense Analysis. He holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Chicago. His publications include: Endurance and War: The National Sources of Military Cohesion (Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2014); Nuclear Strategies to Deter Conventional Attacks,” in, New Perspectives on Coercion, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming); Flexible Response Revisited: Assessing Pakistan’s Potential Nuclear Strategies, PM-2383 (Santa Monica, CA: The Rand Corporation, 2007); Striking First: Preemptive and Preventive Attack in U.S. National Security Policy (Santa Monica, CA: The Rand Corporation, 2004); “Nuclear Terrorism: Why Deterrence Still Matters,” Current History, Vol. 2, No. 668 (2003), Economic Growth and Military Expenditures, MR-112-A, (Santa Monica, CA: The Rand Corporation, 2002). His research focuses on U.S. national security policy, especially military effectiveness and nuclear deterrence.