Guarding the Guardians: Civilian Control of Nuclear Weapons in the United States

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Guarding the Guardians: Civilian Control of Nuclear Weapons in the United States

By Peter Douglas Feaver
Cornell University Press, 1992
261 pp. $34.50
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Notwithstanding its overly formal structure (complete with dependent and independent variables): this is a well-written and intriguing discussion of one of the most important yet least understood dimensions of nuclear strategy. The author explores the oscillation between delegation and assertive civilian control over the nuclear arsenal, focusing in particular on the early period of American nuclear strategy. Where possible he makes use of archival material, although for the period of the last 25 years or so, not surprisingly, he is forced to rely on secondary sources, newspaper articles and interviews. The book contributes to the study of civil-military relations at this high level of national strategy and offers its readers an interesting look into issues that remain swathed in secrecy.

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