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Space and Missile Wars: What Awaits
Published on: Apr 2021

Sometimes, slow, steady changes produce revolutionary results. A case in point is missile and space technologies, which Space and Missile Wars: What Awaits will examine (for a free download click here). Long-range missiles, satellites, and space launch vehicles used to be high technology exclusive to the superpowers. Now, scores of states have both. As for ballistic missiles and drones, even non-state actors have them, and these systems are far more accurate than anything the superpowers had even at the height of the Cold War. Then, long-range missiles could only be certain of destroying their targets if they were nuclear-armed and wiped out areas as large as cities. Now, drones are so accurate they can pinpoint and kill single individuals. 

As for space satellite launchers, they originally were derived from nuclear delivery missiles. None were privately owned. Similarly, almost all space satellites were government property and, until 1965, the owners were only American and Soviet. Now, the French, Chinese, Japanese, British, Indians, Israelis, Ukrainians, Iranians, and North Koreans have all launched satellites of their own. In addition, more than 60 nations own and operate their own satellites and increasingly, satellites are launched, owned, and operated entirely by private entities. 

These developments are nontrivial. They will define the military competitions with China, Russia, and other hostile states for the next two to three decades. Will the spread of accurate missiles embolden weak actors – small states and terrorist organizations – to threaten stronger states with missile attacks against key civilian targets (dams, reactors, petrochemical plants)? Will weak actors be tempted to use accurate drones to assassinate their adversaries’ key leaders? Will such attacks catalyze war, producing modern Sarajevos that draw in nuclear-armed states (e.g. Israel, Pakistan, India, North Korea, or the superpowers)? With so many new space actors, will anyone be able to attribute hostile actions in space? Will states attack satellites mostly in low Earth orbit or geosynchronous orbit? Will the most important attacks come from antisatellite systems based on Earth, in low Earth orbit, or on or near the moon? 

This volume is designed to answer these questions. 

For hard copies of the Amazon version click here. 

Published by:

Nonproliferation Policy Education Center

Edited by NPEC Executive Director Henry Sokolski - 2021

Alternative East Asian Nuclear Futures, Volume I: Military Scenarios
Published on: Jun 2018
This book, Alternative East Asian Nuclear Futures: Military Scenarios, is the first of two volumes. It examines why and how Japan and South Korea might acquire nuclear weapons. It also details how North Korea and China might ramp up their nuclear arms production. 
First released in draft form in 2015, much of this volumes’ research anticipated what is now unfolding in the region. North Korea is developing a full-range of nuclear force capabilities. It is interested not just in deterring but in coercing its neighbors and the United States. The outcome of negotiations with North Korea remains unclear but Pyongyang now has cause to consider itself a nuclear-armed equal to America. China, meanwhile, is expanding its nuclear arsenal. At the same time, Japan may increase its large stockpile of weapons-usable plutonium by opening a large reprocessing plant at Rokkasho. It could produce approximately 1,500 bombs worth of plutonium a year. Finally, South Korea is considering reprocessing nuclear fuel and is interested in enriching uranium. South Korean conservatives, who may return to power in 2022, talk openly about acquiring nuclear weapons. These trends and more are described in this volume.
Click here to read the second volume: Alternative East Asian Nuclear Futures: Energy Scenarios
Published by:

Nonproliferation Policy Education Center
Edited by NPEC Executive Director Henry Sokolski - 2018

Alternative East Asian Nuclear Futures, Volume II: Energy Scenarios
Published on: Jun 2018
This book, Alternative East Asian Nuclear Futures: Energy Scenarios, is the second of two volumes concerned about the security of East Asia. It asks two questions. How much nuclear power does East Asia really need? Can East Asia rely less on nuclear power through 2035? The answers matter because civilian nuclear energy programs could be exploited to make nuclear weapons in China, Japan, and the Koreas.
How much further this sector will expand in East Asia depends on several trends spotlighted in this volume. Natural gas prices increasingly will be less local and will instead reflect global market trends. These will be almost entirely independent of oil prices. As a result, natural gas is likely to remain plentiful and affordable for the generation of electricity for several decades. Nuclear power from large reactors and nuclear recycling costs and construction times are high and unlikely to fall. By contrast, electrical demand growth, the cost of renewables, natural gas-fired electricity, and electrical grid storage are falling and are likely to continue to do so. Meanwhile, improving grid transmission systems and developing more agile and experimental electrical pricing systems will help to reduce demand and encourage more economical forms of electrical generation. The question that remains is how much the governments in China, Korea, and Japan will recognize these developments.
Published by:

 Nonproliferation Policy Education Center
Edited by NPEC Executive Director Henry Sokolski - 2018

Underestimated: Our Not So Peaceful Nuclear Future, Second Edition
Click here for the complete book
Published on: Jan 2019

For hard copies of the Amazon version click here and for the SSI version here. For a free online version, click here.

Publication History:

NPEC created the first version of Underestimated in November 2014. The Strategic Studies published the first edition in December 2015 and the second edition in August 2018.

On this webpage is the latest version of the second edition, which includes new citations and a number of minor editorial improvements. 

Book Summary:

With the world focused on the nuclear crisis in Iran, it is tempting to think that addressing this case, North Korea, and the problem of nuclear terrorism is all that matters and is what matters most. Perhaps, but if states become more willing to use their nuclear weapons to achieve military advantage, the problem of proliferation will become much more unwieldy. In this case, U.S. security will be hostage not just to North Korea, Iran, or terrorists, but to nuclear proliferation more generally, diplomatic miscalculations, and wars between a much larger number of possible players.

This, in a nutshell, is the premise of Underestimated: Our Not So Peaceful Nuclear Future, which explores what we may be up against over the next few decades and how we currently think about this future. Will nuclear weapons spread in the next 20 years to more nations than just North Korea and possibly Iran? How great will the consequences be? What can be done?

Published by:
Nonproliferation Policy Education Center
By Henry Sokolski
with Foreword by Andrew W. Marshall
Black & White: ISBN 978-0-9862895-2
Full Color: ISBN 978-0-9862895-2-1
Paperback copies are available through Amazon and the Strategic Studies Institute
Updated January 2019.
Reactor-Grade Plutonium and Nuclear Weapons: Exploding the Myths by Gregory S. Jones
Click here for the complete book and individual chapters
Published on: Apr 2018

In Reactor-Grade Plutonium and Nuclear Weapons: Exploding the Myths, long-time defense analyst Gregory S. Jones draws from his decades of research using publicly available, unclassified information to debunk the persistent fallacy that reactor-grade plutonium cannot be used to build reliable nuclear weapons. This belief has long been held by a segment of the nuclear power industry determined to use plutonium as reactor fuel despite its highly uneconomical nature. Further, this mistaken belief has made reactor-grade plutonium readily available to many non-nuclear weapon states.

In the book, Jones shows that nuclear weapons can be manufactured using reactor-grade plutonium that have the same predetonation probability, size, and weight as nuclear weapons using weapon-grade plutonium. In addition to technical analysis, the book describes how Sweden and Pakistan planned to use reactor-grade plutonium for their nuclear weapons programs and how India may be planning to do so today. Jones also details how the U.S. successfully tested a nuclear weapon using what was truly reactor-grade plutonium in 1962. All of this leads Jones to argue for banning plutonium recycling and reprocessing globally. 

For hard copies of the book on Amazon click here.

Published by:

The Nonproliferation Policy Education Center - 2018

By Gregory S. Jones
with Foreword by Olli Heinonen

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The Nonproliferation Policy Education Center (NPEC), is a 501 (c)3 nonpartisan, nonprofit, educational organization
founded in 1994 to promote a better understanding of strategic weapons proliferation issues. NPEC educates policymakers, journalists,
and university professors about proliferation threats and possible new policies and measures to meet them.
1600 Wilson Blvd. | Suite 640 | Arlington, VA 22209 | phone: 571-970-3187 |