Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory



February 5, 2018

Deterring strategic attack on the United States, and its allies and partners, has been a central goal of U.S. national security strategy since at least the advent of the nuclear age. Meeting this goal has grown more challenging in recent years, in part due to the advancement of nuclear capabilities (in quite different ways) by Russia, China, and North Korea, but even more so due to the rapid and accelerating military integration of emerging non-nuclear technologies. These changes, and the associated challenges of sustaining effective deterrence, are accelerating. Of particular importance are capabilities relating to cyberspace, outer space, missile defense, long-range strike, and a range of AI-related areas including autonomous systems and big data analytics. The United States is appropriately pursuing breakthrough military capabilities relating to each of these areas, partly in the recognition that others (China and Russia in particular) are also doing so. After outlining the nature of this growing set of challenges - and opportunities - Dr. Miller will offer a number of specific recommendations for U.S. policy, military force posture, and engagement with Russia and China.

Dr. James Miller is President and CEO of Adaptive Strategies LLC. He is a senior fellow at Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Lab and at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science & International Affairs. Dr. Miller serves on the Board of Directors for The Atlantic Council, the Board of Advisors for Endgame, Inc. and the Board of Advisors for the Center for a New American Security. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the International Institute for Strategic Studies, and the Defense Science Board. He has held several key positions at the U.S. Department of Defense most recently as Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, the principal civilian advisor to Secretaries Leon Panetta and Chuck Hagel on strategy, policy, and operations, and DoD’s Deputy for National Security Council policy-making and crisis management.


Adapting the U.S. Approach to Strategic Deterrence

James N. Miller

Deterring strategic attack on the United States, and its allies and partners, has been a central goal of U.S. national security strategy since at least the advent of the nuclear age. Meeting this goal has grown more challenging in recent years, in part due to the advancement of nuclear capabilities (in quite different ways) by Russia, China, and North Korea, but even more so due to the rapid and accelerating military integration of emerging non-nuclear technologies. These changes, and the associated challenges of sustaining effective deterrence, are accelerating. Of particular importance are capabilities relating to cyberspace, outer space, missile defense, long-range strike, and a range of AI-related areas including autonomous systems and big data analytics. The United States is appropriately pursuing breakthrough military capabilities relating to each of these areas, partly in the recognition that others (China and Russia in particular) are also doing so. After outlining the nature of this growing set of challenges - and opportunities - Dr. Miller will offer a number of specific recommendations for U.S. policy, military force posture, and engagement with Russia and China.

Dr. James Miller is President and CEO of Adaptive Strategies LLC. He is a senior fellow at Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Lab and at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science & International Affairs.

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