In the recent American military
engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan, some American tacticians
frustrated by the military’s limited ability to destroy heavily
fortified targets. Conventional explosives did not have
ability to penetrate meters of earth, concrete, and steel
fortification. In response, some American policymakers
suggested that the United States begin to develop a new
low-yield nuclear weapons. These weapons would be able to
targets which are impervious to conventional weapons, yet would
have the wholesale destructive power of traditional nuclear
weapons. Opponents argue that low-yield weapons would be
likely to be used than existing weapons. Were the United
to use a low-yield weapon against, say, a command-and-control
it would end the 60-year prohibition on the use of nuclear
encourage other nations to do the same in their own
Other critics are concerned that the mere development and
of such weapons would undermine the United States’ effort to
In your report, you should address the specific issue of
nuclear weapons. This is not a paper about nuclear weapons
general, nor is it about American foreign policy. You may
these issues as they relate to low-yield nuclear weapons.
Consider and try to answer the following questions: Are
weapons necessary to American national security? Will
commanders need such weapons in our next major military
engagement? Would they hurt or strengthen America’s
the international community? What would be the
using a low-yield nuclear device? I have given you a list
potential websites with which to begin your research. Keep
mind that many of them are not entirely objective.
Air Force general
the Journal of the Federation of American Scientists
of legislative action regarding low-yield weapons.
by anti-nuclear activist group
congressional debate about low-yield weapons.
a new proposed earth-penetrating weapon, with links.
collateral damage caused by earth-penetrating weapons.
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists