October 21, 2022

New CNAS Report: "Assessing Russian State Capacity to Develop and Deploy Advanced Military Technology"

By Michael Kofman, Richard Connolly, Jeffrey Edmonds, Andrea Kendall-Taylor, and Samuel Bendett

Washington, October 21, 2022—Today, the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) released a new report, "Assessing Russian State Capacity to Develop and Deploy Advanced Military Technology," from authors Michael Kofman, Richard Connolly, Jeffrey Edmonds, Andrea Kendall-Taylor, and Samuel Bendett.

The report provides an assessment of the nature of the future Russian threat, focusing on Russia's ability to develop and deploy its nuclear capabilities through 2030.

The authors assert that Russia's future nuclear outlook, though uncertain given the challenges its military faces as a result of its invasion of Ukraine, is likely to be shaped by two drivers: the effectiveness of Western sanctions, and the extent of the degradation of the Russian military. Using these drivers, the authors outline two scenarios, describing both a worst- and best-case situation for Russia.

The scenarios produce several key insights with implications for the United States and Europe. These findings include:

  • Russia’s political and military leadership is likely to see the use of nuclear weapons as more potentially effective in managing escalation and conflict given the weakening of its conventional forces.
  • Russia will likely emphasize early nuclear escalation and employment for warfighting purposes, shortening the pathway to nuclear war.
  • Arms control will face headwinds as the current political situation complicates the prospects that the United States and Russia will agree to a replacement for the New START Treaty once it expires in 2026.
  • Russia might be willing to transfer various types of capabilities to other states where it has previously demonstrated restraint, given that an increasingly isolated Kremlin will lack the impetus to continue participating in normative proliferation regimes.
  • Russia will grow more dependent on China and could further proliferate advanced systems to Beijing, sustaining the risk from their defense alignment.

Ultimately, the authors argue that even though Russia will emerge weakened from the war in Ukraine, it will maintain not just the intent, but also the capacity to challenge the United States and Europe.

Read the full report to learn more about the key findings and associated recommendations.

For more information or to schedule an interview with the report authors, please contact Cameron Edinburgh at cedinburgh@cnas.org

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Authors

  • Michael Kofman

    Adjunct Senior Fellow, Transatlantic Security Program

    Michael Kofman serves as a Senior Research Scientist at the Center for Naval Analyses' Russia Studies Program, and a Fellow at the Kennan Institute, Woodrow Wilson Internation...

  • Richard Connolly

    Adjunct Senior Fellow, Transatlantic Security Program

    Dr Richard Connolly is director of the consultancy, Eastern Advisory Group, and an associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in London. He was previously ...

  • Jeffrey Edmonds

    Adjunct Senior Fellow, Transatlantic Security Program

    Jeffrey Edmonds is an expert on US national security, especially as it relates to Russia. He works full time for CNA's Russia Studies Program. His research focuses on the Russ...

  • Andrea Kendall-Taylor

    Senior Fellow and Director, Transatlantic Security Program

    Andrea Kendall-Taylor is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Transatlantic Security Program at CNAS. She works on national security challenges facing the United States and Eur...

  • Samuel Bendett

    Adjunct Senior Fellow, Technology and National Security Program

    Samuel Bendett is an Adviser with CNA Strategy, Policy, Plans and Programs Center (SP3), where he is a member of the Russia Studies Program. His work involves research on the ...