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The nuclear weapons business has always been a complex and complicated endeavour, but many of these problems are being exacerbated, recast and transformed as we move further into an era dominated by computers and information technology. Indeed, many of the central axioms and orthodoxy of nuclear weapons security and safety, command and control, non-proliferation, nuclear deterrence and nuclear crisis management were conceived in a very different era, and the rise of so-called cyber weapons, "hacking", and the concept of information warfare provides notable challenges right across the nuclear weapons enterprise. In particular, new digital threats, vulnerabilities and challenges clearly impact the way adversaries seek to steal sensitive nuclear-related information or attempt to compromise, sabotage or attack nuclear systems – this in turn has implications for the proliferation of sensitive technologies and the surety of nuclear stockpiles and weapons systems. Such developments also present new dynamics for nuclear deterrence and the maintenance of strategic stability, and especially for successful future crisis management between nuclear-armed actors. The main aim of this talk therefore is to explain how and in what ways nuclear utility, security, strategy and thinking is being challenged, reconstituted or compounded by cyber weapons, the threat of cyber attack, and the broader dynamics of the information age.

Speaker: Dr Andrew Futter (Senior Lecturer in International Politics at the University of Leicester).

Andrew Futter is a Senior Lecturer in International Politics at the University of Leicester, and a Visiting Fellow in Nuclear Strategy at the Institute for Conflict, Cooperation and Security at Birmingham  He is currently working on a 3-year ESRC funded Future Research Leaders project investigating how nuclear strategy, thinking and utility is being reshaped by the growth of "cyber". He has published widely on nuclear weapons issues, strategy, proliferation and arms control, and is the author of two books; Ballistic Missile Defence and US National Security Policy (2013) and The Politics of Nuclear Weapons (2015).  Andrew completed his PhD in Birmingham in 2011.

Recorded: Monday 14 December 2015 (16:00-17:30)

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