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Denial And Jeopardy: Deterring Iranian Use Of Nbc Weapons

by Paula A. Desutter

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"The potential spread of nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) weapons increasingly threatens the United States and its forces around the world. The use of such weapons could complicate every phase of military operations from deployment through ports and staging facilities to operating in an NBC environment while maintaining the cohesion of a coalition. Some states may pursue nuclear weapons capability for status alone, but the ability of NBC weapons to act as a force multiplier in the international arena has not escaped the attention of a disturbing array of hostile states, to include Iran.

"In this assessment, the author portrays Iran as aggressively pursuing NBC weapons, ballistic missiles, and other means of delivery and as particularly difficult to deter from using NBC weapons. She develops a strategic profile of that country, identifying probable Iranian incentives for using NBC weapons, the likely targets of such use, and the challenges faced by the United States in deterring Iranian use. Finally, she proposes a strategy designed both to strengthen deterrence of Iranian use of NBC weapons and means of delivery and to diminish the consequences of NBC use should deterrence fail.

"Many have assumed that U. S. conventional or nuclear superiority can axiomatically deter a regional state from using NBC capabilities in a contingency, except perhaps as a weapon of last resort. This book challenges the reader to reconsider that assumption and suggests that thinking about deterrence should focus on regional threats to our security that might involve NBC use."

Richard A. Chilcoat Lieutenant General, United States Army President, National Defense University



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