Dr. Shea, a senior policy advisor (nonproliferation) at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, presented this essay before Assessing the IAEA’s Ability to Safeguard Peaceful Nuclear Energy, a conference held in Paris, France, and hosted by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Fondation pour la Recherche […]
What might the next arms race look like? Assuming current nuclear trends continue, the next two decades will test America’s security and that of its closest allies as they never have been tested before. Well before 2030, the United Kingdom could find its nuclear forces eclipsed not only by those of Pakistan, but of Israel, North Korea, and India. France may share the same fate. Meanwhile, China could conceivably achieve nuclear parity in deployed nuclear weapons with the United States. Finally, highly accurate conventional missiles and drones, as well as the space-based systems and services needed to guide and defend against them are spreading both to rogue states and proxy forces. As a result, the next arms race, will be quite different than what we experienced during the Cold War.