Nuclear Hotlines: Origins, Evolution, Applications
Special Reports

Nuclear Hotlines: Origins, Evolution, Applications

Pandemic-Nuclear Nexus Scenarios Project

Nuclear Hotlines: Origins, Evolution, Applications

By Steven E. Miller 

The hotline concept has evolved to a variety of forms and settings, suggesting a broad utility. But it is what might be called a pure or original version of an idea that remains compelling: making sure that the most important, most heavily armed nuclear rivals can communicate directly and effectively at the highest levels in all circumstances, whether crisis or war, in order to minimize escalation, retain control of dangerous situations, and inoculate against potentially disastrous miscommunication or misunderstanding.


Nuclear weapons, hotlines, Russia, United States, Cuban Missile Crisis, Arms Control, Diplomacy.

About the Author

Steven E. Miller is Director of the International Security Program, Editor-in-Chief of the quarterly journal, International Security and also co-editor of the International Security Program’s book series, Belfer Center Studies in International Security (which is published by the MIT Press). Previously, he was Senior Research Fellow at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) and taught Defense and Arms Control Studies in the Department of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Image: iStock, Metamorworks.