Analyzing and Reducing the Risks of Inadvertent Nuclear War between the United States and Russia

Science and Global Security 21(2): 106-133

27 Pages Posted: 11 Jul 2016  

Seth D. Baum

Global Catastrophic Risk Institute

Anthony M. Barrett

Global Catastrophic Risk Institute

Date Written: June 28, 2013

Abstract

This paper develops a mathematical modeling framework using fault trees and Poisson processes for analyzing the risks of inadvertent nuclear war from U.S. or Russian misinterpretation of false alarms in early warning systems, and for assessing the potential value of inadvertence risk reduction options. The model also uses publicly available information on early-warning systems, near-miss incidents, and other factors to estimate probabilities of a U.S.-Russia crisis, the rates of false alarms, and the probabilities that leaders will launch missiles in response to a false alarm. The paper discusses results, uncertainties, limitations, and policy implications.

Keywords: international security, nuclear weapons, risk

Suggested Citation

Baum, Seth D. and Barrett, Anthony M., Analyzing and Reducing the Risks of Inadvertent Nuclear War between the United States and Russia (June 28, 2013). Science and Global Security 21(2): 106-133. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2807399

Seth D. Baum (Contact Author)

Global Catastrophic Risk Institute ( email )

Anthony M. Barrett

Global Catastrophic Risk Institute ( email )

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