Hoffman’s questionable proposal for de-alerting

In his FP piece David Hoffman  acknowledges that missile defense remains the main obstacle in US-Russian arms control and suggests bypassing it to achieve Russia’s consent for deeper strategic cuts through de-alerting strategic missiles.  However, it is not clear to me how the author intends to implement his proposal, given that development of U.S. ballistic missile defenses should actually prompt Russia to increase preparedness of its strategic missiles for launch rather than negotiate their de-alerting with Americans. Furthemore, de-alerting is difficult to verify and fears of cheating may undermine strategic stability. And the author should be aware of the destabilizing impact – that a decision to put missiles back on high alert  in the case of escalation of tensions – will have on the crisis component of the strategic stability. So, yes, increasing warning and decision time, is a good idea, but it cant be done without taking into account BMD capabilities and it has it has its own disadvantages that need to be addressed.


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