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A nation must think before it acts.
In light of ongoing work to improve nuclear attribution capabilities, policymakers could be tempted to consider a nuclear terrorism deterrence doctrine relying strongly on the ability of those capabilities to support retaliation against states that supply materials used anonymously in an attack. Although the United States must develop the best possible nuclear attribution capabilities, at the very least to support response actions after an attack, prospects for deterrence are uncertain. To accommodate these uncertainties, as well as the wide range of possible nuclear terrorism scenarios, the United States should adopt a broadly scoped operationally ambiguous declaratory policy in the context of a comprehensive strategic doctrine to prevent nuclear terrorism.