The Return of Deterrence: Credibility and Capabilities in a New Era (KCIS 2018)

  • June 03, 2019
  • Prof William G Braun III, Kim Richard Nossal, Stéfanie von Hlatky


What are the implications of re-emphasizing deterrence in defence policy? What is the appropriate balance of capabilities and political commitments to restore a credible defence posture while keeping the door open for constructive dialogue with Moscow and Beijing? In Western Europe, NATO’s defence capabilities must be able to both deter adversaries and reassure allies. Canada, along with the United States, Germany and the UK, has become lead nation for one of the four battlegroups in the Baltics and Poland. Yet even with NATO’s enhanced forward presence, it is not yet clear what deterrence will entail: is it a return to the Cold War or is deterrence in a more hybrid conflict environment fundamentally different? What is the respective importance of conventional forces, nuclear weapons and missile defence in upholding deterrence and reassurance?
Those questions—and others—were addressed by panelists and presenters at KCIS 2018. We reproduce eight papers from the conference in this volume. The chapters in this volume focus on both the general applicability of deterrence as a theoretical approach to contemporary global politics, and to particular policy issues confronting Western allies.