January 23, 2018

WHO’S NEXT? Going Nuclear? The Optimal Posture and Force Structure for Australia.

The states with smaller nuclear arsenals including, France, China, India, Pakistan and Israel each adopt one of three postures according to Vipin Narang. These being, a “catalytic posture” whereby a state that is being threatened attempts to use its nuclear arsenal to compel, or catalyze, third-party intervention on the state’s behalf. An “assured retaliation posture” whereby a state can threaten nuclear retaliation if it suffers a nuclear attack. Lastly, an “asymmetric escalation posture” that enables the first use of nuclear weapons in the event of a conventional attack.

Each posture requires a different force structure that is optimal for the state’s perceived needs but what would work for Australia? It is my opinion that if Australia were ever to consider going down the nuclear path, it would be best suited to an “assured retaliation posture.” This would provide the capability of deterring a nuclear attack and nuclear coercion. Australia’s conventional force would continue to be modified and strengthened, but an “assured retaliation posture” would enable the country to free itself from the potential fear of not being able to counter nuclear blackmail. With an adequately deployed nuclear force suited to the concept of assured retaliation, the strategic nuclear option would be off the table for any future adversary determined to use threats to obtain resources, economic gain, territory or any form of strategic dominance.

China is going to end up hemmed in by nuclear powers at every turn, if they don’t rein in Li’l Kim.

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