This hard-nosed and dialectical assessment should emphasize, inter alia, new program designs for advanced nuclear weapons; further modernization of needed nuclear infrastructures and warheads; and more consciously precise calibrations of American nuclear strategy and tactics to different levels and sites of notable enemy threat. Most dangerous of all, perhaps, will be the conspicuously urgent threat of nuclear terrorism.
In the final analysis, the main thrust of our national security policy efforts must be determinedly intellectual. Even in much simpler times, the highest achievements of U.S. strategic doctrine always managed to emerge not in the triumph of mind over matter, but of mind over mind.
Louis René Beres, professor of political science and international law at Purdue University, is the author of many core books and articles on nuclear strategy and nuclear war, including several very early works on nuclear terrorism.
Thomas G. McInerney, a retired U.S. Air Force lieutenant general, served as assistant vice chief of staff of the Air Force, deputy chief of staff for operations and intelligence for Pacific Air Forces; and vice commander in chief of U.S. Air Forces in Europe. He is co-author, with Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely of "Endgame: The Blueprint for Victory in the War on Terror."