Weapons Design in Peacetime

Weapons Design in Peacetime

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3984-1.ch010

Abstract

In this chapter, the author revisits the other two justifications canvassed in Chapter 5: weapons design in peacetime done for the ends of defence and deterrence. In view of the previous chapters, it is by now easy to see that these justifications do not stand up to scrutiny. The author does, however, review and revisit both deterrence and defense to show that this is the case.
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Deterrence Revisited Again

Deterrence has been discussed in Chapters 3 and 7, and in Chapter 5 J3 was given as a possible justification of weapons research project rp:

J3: rp was done to deter B’s enemies from aggression.

We need to assess J3. First of all, recall that deterrence is a relation between A and B, which are normally states (coalitions of states are possible). The relation depends on measures taken by at least one of the two states in accordance with a given policy or strategy designed to achieve or maintain a certain state of affairs. In Chapter 5 it was suggested that the weapons designer might appeal to D, a suitable theory about deterrence, in order to support J3. Now we need to ask whether there is a theory D that can be called on to support J3. I do not think there is. That is to say, there is no coherent set of propositions that can show why rp is needed for deterring A, explain why this is so, provide a general framework that is applicable to other instances, and do so in such a way that our general criterion is satisfied. Deterrence theory, such as it is, is not much more that a set of simple tenets, verging on truisms, to the effect that states will not act in ways that are against their best interests, that states try to enact measures to prevent others from so acting, and that some of these measures can entail the acquisition of new military capabilities. We want more from D: we want a way to determine what aggressive moves states really want to make and we want to know what kind of military capability is needed for forestall such moves and when and how to get it. But all the evidence from the most prolonged struggle over deterrence, the Cold War, tells against any of this being forthcoming, as we shall now see.

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