Nuclear Weapons and Strategic Deterrence - Free short session

Course length:

1 hour



Course dates

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This free short session is a 45 min overview of the full 2 day Nuclear Weapons and Strategic Deterrence course.


Course Outline:

FULL 2 day  course outline

  1. Physics of nuclear weapons - the basics of fission and fusion processes, weapon effects
  2. Nuclear weapon systems and system architectures– missiles, planes, submarines, and command and control
  3. Nuclear Weapon Employment Policy – presidential directives, nuclear posture reviews, legal considerations
  4. Nuclear warfighting – using nuclear weapons, targeting and war planning
  5. Deterrence Theory – basic principles, ‘how much is enough?’, ‘countervalue vs counterforce’ targeting
  6. Treaties and Arms Control – the role of treaties in regulating and constraining nuclear weapons, treaty compliance, mutual defense treaties and extended deterrence
  7. Case studies in deterrence and nuclear use, e.g., Hiroshima/Nagasaki, Cuban Missile Crisis
  8. Emerging trends – new Russian weapon designs, China’s ‘strategic breakout’, role of nuclear weapons in recent conflicts


Dr. Jonathan C. Bierce is the Chief Analyst for the Sea Control Mission Area of the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, focusing on undersea warfare (USW).  Since 2001, Dr. Bierce’s span of work includes engineering research and development, tactical analyses, and the technology, operations, and analytics of deterrence.  He served as a Special Government Employee with USW expertise in support of the Defense Science Board.  A submarine officer prior to joining the Laboratory, he has experience in theater intelligence operations.  Dr. Bierce holds a BS in Physics from MIT, an MS in Applied Physics from the Johns Hopkins University, an MA in Security Studies from Georgetown University, and a DEng from the George Washington University.  He is a member of US Strategic Command’s Academic Alliance.


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SCHEDULING: If this course is not on the current schedule of open enrollment courses and you are interested in attending this or another course as an open enrollment, please contact us at (410)956-8805 or Please indicate the course name, number of students who wish to participate. and a preferred time frame. ATI typically schedules open enrollment courses with a 3-5 month lead-time. To express your interest in an open enrollment course not on our current schedule, please email us at

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