Elements of Deterrence

Erik Gartzke and Jon R. Lindsay, Elements of Deterrence: Strategy, Technology, and Complexity in Global Politics (Oxford University Press, Forthcoming)

Global politics today is complicated. Governments struggle to deal with rapid technological innovation,  dense economic interdependence, and increasingly fierce security competition. How should policymakers formulate grand strategy in this complex environment? Many strategists look to deterrence as the answer, but how much can we expect of deterrence? 

Classical deterrence theory developed in response to the nuclear threats of the Cold War. Strategists since have stretched it into new concepts such as "cross-domain deterrence" and "integrated deterrence" to encompass emerging threats in the land, sea, air, space, and cyber domains. Any attempt to combine disparate instruments of policy will face a number of obvious challenges in practice, to include the development of common doctrine and infrastructure, the coordination of strategy and operations, and political friction with bureaucratic interests and coalition partners. But practice is not the only problem. A deeper question is whether integrated deterrence is even possible in principle. 

If war is the continuation of politics by other means, then the diversity of means in modern warfare suggests a diversity of political effects. Some force structures and postures are useful for fighting particular kinds of wars. Others are effective for warning adversaries of consequences or demonstrating resolve. Still others may accomplish these goals at lower political cost, or with greater strategic stability. Deterrence strategy is not simply a matter of integrating various tools, therefore, but of figuring out why to use them in the first place. 

This book presents theoretical and empirical findings from a decade-long research endeavor on ''cross-domain deterrence'' sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense Minerva Initiative, building on a previous edited volume on that topic. We did not elaborate on our own views in that volume in any detail, partly because our goal was to canvas the state of the art, and partly because our views were still evolving. Since then, we have published a series of peer-reviewed articles on deterrence (together, separately, and with colleagues). Each of these articles has presented a portion of our reasoning, along with some empirical findings. Yet the respective strands have never been brought together in one place. This book accomplishes that and more. 

This book presents newly revised and reorganized versions of published work alongside new material into a holistic framework for understanding how deterrence works (or fails to work) in multiple domains. We are especially grateful to our coauthors for their permission to include their work in this new format; they are credited on the byline of several chapters. The result is a new synthesis of the venerable problems of deterrence. We use a series of detailed theoretical and empirical studies to explore the fundamental political trade-offs that arise from integrating specialized military technologies for disparate strategic priorities. We find that in deterrence, all good things do not go together.


I The Ends and Means of Deterrence 

1 What is Deterrence? 

2 Deterrence is Not (Just) One Thing 

3 Politics by (Many) Other Means 

II Theoretical Problems in the Cyber Domain 

4 Cyberspace is Unsuitable for the Strategy of War 

5 Cyberspace is Ideal for the Strategy of Deception 

6 Cyber Deception May Undermine Nuclear Deterrence 

III Empirical Evidence in Multiple Domains 

7 Land: Presence and Credibility (with Koji Kagotani)

8 Sea: Maneuver and Uncertainty 

9 Air: Automation and Cost (with James Walsh)

10 Space: Intelligence and Stability (with Bryan Early)

IV Strategic Implications of Complexity 

11 Trade: Asymmetry and Multipolarity (with Oliver Westerwinter)

12 Cyber: Complements and Substitutes (with Nadiya Kostyuk)

13 Gray Zone: Ambiguity and Escalation (with J. Andres Gannon and Peter Schram)