Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-99c86f546-md8df Total loading time: 0.371 Render date: 2021-12-01T23:03:57.966Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

1 - The puzzle of declining nuclear weapons project efficiency

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 June 2012

Jacques E. C. Hymans
Affiliation:
University of Southern California
Get access

Summary

Policymakers typically ask intelligence analysts two standard questions about the likelihood of nuclear proliferation. First, what might cause a given state to seek the bomb? This is considered to be a “political” question. Second, if the state were to seek the bomb, how quickly could it achieve that goal? This is considered to be a “technical” question.

In this book, however, I argue that it is wrong to view the second question as a purely technical one. Political analysis is essential not merely for evaluating states’ propensity to seek nuclear weapons, but also for evaluating their capacity to achieve their nuclear weapons ambitions. For if it is difficult to get intricate centrifuge cascades to spin at high speeds for months on end, it is even more difficult to get large numbers of scientific and technical workers to tackle such challenges with the proper mix of passion and meticulousness. In other words, a crucial, yet widely overlooked determinant of efficient nuclear weapons projects is the top state leadership’s adoption of a management approach that respects scientific workers’ spirit of professionalism. But the mere fact that this is the right management approach does not mean it will be adopted. In many states, weak state institutions permit, and even encourage, top leaders to take actions that undermine that spirit of professionalism, and thereby unintentionally to thwart their own nuclear ambitions.

Type
Chapter
Information
Achieving Nuclear Ambitions
Scientists, Politicians, and Proliferation
, pp. 1 - 40
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2012

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

1985
Kelman, StevenIf You Want To Be a Good Fill-in-the-Blank Manager, Be a Good Plain-Vanilla ManagerPS: Political Science and Politics 2011 241Google Scholar
Sagan, ScottWhy Do States Build Nuclear Weapons? Three Models in Search of a BombInternational Security 21 1996 54CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Send book to Kindle

To send this book to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Send book to Dropbox

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×