Reversal of nuclear-conventional entanglement in outer space

ABSTRACT:  In recent years, scholars have grappled with the risks and conditions of nuclear-conventional entanglement. One of the examples of entanglement discussed in the academic literature is U.S. nuclear command and control satellites, which have historically served both nuclear and conventional missions. From 2017 to 2019, the U.S. Air Force made a series of programmatic decisions that would, at least in part, reverse this entanglement, separating nuclear from non-nuclear spacecraft. This reversal of nuclear-conventional entanglement in outer space poses strategic consequences, but it was less a strategic choice made by U.S. leadership than the result of acquisition reforms and bureaucratic dynamics.

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