Emerging and disruptive technologies spell an uncertain future for second-strike retaliatory forces. New sensors and big data analysis may render mobile missiles and submarines vulnerable to detection. I call this development the “standstill conundrum”: States will no longer be able to assure a nuclear response should they be hit by a nuclear first strike. If the nuclear weapons states can manage this vulnerability, however, they might be able to escape its worst effects. “Managing” could mean shoring up nuclear deterrence; it could mean focusing more on defenses; or it could mean negotiating to ensure continued viability of second-strike deterrent forces.
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