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Taylor & Francis
Andrew Futter and Benjamin Zala, ‘Emerging Non-Nuclear Technology and the Future of the Global Nuclear Order’, in Bård Nikloas Vik Steen and Olav Njølstad, eds, Nuclear Disarmament: A Critical Assessment, Abingdon: Routledge, 2019, pp. 207-23.
The latest information revolution has driven the development of a new suite of non-nuclear military capabilities and a new technological context that together challenge our understanding of the global nuclear order. Long-held assumptions about strategic stability, deterrence, arms control and crisis stability are being challenged by increasingly capable ballistic missile defences, precision weapons across all military domains, cyber technologies and the introduction of Artificial Intelligence into the nuclear realm. Each of these systems is important and influential in its own right – particularly as counter-force weapons – but, taken together, the impact is magnified considerably. The time is therefore ripe to reassess the central tenets of how we think about and manage our nuclear world and unpack what this development could mean for the future of nuclear weapons, and how this might shape the prospect for the long-held goal of nuclear disarmament. This chapter argues that we stand on the cusp of a new era likely to be characterised by three pathways, only one of which might see us move towards a non-nuclear world.