30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Armed Forces and Military Strategy

Aug 15, 2013 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., August 15, 2013 – On 21 February 1955, Richard M. Bissell, a senior CIA official, wrote a check on an Agency account for $1.25 million dollars and mailed it to the home of Kelly Johnson, chief engineer at the Lockheed Company's Burbank, California, plant. According to a newly declassified CIA history of the U-2 program obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by National Security Archive senior fellow Jeffrey T.
Dec 12, 2012 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., December 12, 2012 – As late as 1968, the U.S. government had plans in place to fire an automatic "full nuclear response" against both the Soviet Union and China in the event of the death or disappearance of the President in the course of an attack against the United States, but President Lyndon Johnson changed that policy in October 1968, according to a previously Top Secret document published today for the first time by the National Security Archive.
Oct 19, 2012 | Briefing Book
The Pentagon during the Cuban Missile Crisis Part II. Day-By-Day Washington, DC, October 19, 2012 – Notes, office calendars, and daily journals from Pentagon top secret files published today for the first time by the National Security Archive show top civilian Pentagon officials and their military aides and advisers working around the clock during the Cuban Missile Crisis trying to ensure that military operations did not inadvertently spark a military confrontation with the Soviet Union.
Oct 16, 2012 | Briefing Book
The Pentagon during the Cuban Missile Crisis Part I. New Documents Washington, DC, October 16, 2012 – Fifty years after President Kennedy considered invading Cuba to take out Soviet missiles during the Cuban Missile Crisis, newly declassified Pentagon documents published today by the National Security Archive (www.nsarchive.org) describe the potentially catastrophic risks of the invasion including 18,500 American casualties in the first 10 days, even without any nuclear explosions. U.S.
Oct 13, 2012 | Briefing Book
Washington, DC, October 13, 2012 – Contrary to U.S. myths of a strategic Soviet offensive towards warm water ports on the Persian Gulf or Indian Ocean, it was "mission creep" that led the Soviet Union into its ill-fated invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, according to a new, richly documented account of early Soviet engagement in Afghanistan, published in English and in Russian today by the National Security Archive at www.nsarchive.org.
Mar 23, 2012 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., March 23, 2012 – A central element of the current debate over how to deal with Iran's nuclear program has focused on the possible difficulty of destroying the Qom underground uranium enrichment facility via air strikes. However, documents posted today by the National Security Archive show that Qom is only the latest in a long series of alleged and real underground facilities that for decades have been a high priority challenge for U.S. and allied intelligence collection and analysis efforts, as well as for military planners.
Mar 1, 2012 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., March 1, 2012 – During the 2008 campaign, Democratic presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama debated the question: who was best suited to be suddenly awakened at 3 a.m. in the White House to make a tough call in a crisis. The candidates probably meant news of trouble in the Middle East or a terrorist attack in the United States or in a major ally, not an 'end of the world' phone call about a major nuclear strike on the United States. In fact at least one such phone call occurred during the Cold War, but it did not go to the President.
Aug 19, 2011 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., August 19, 2011 -The hardline coup d’etat 20 years ago today in Moscow surprised its plotters with unexpected resistance from Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev, from Russian democratic opposition forces, and from the international community including the Bush administration, according to documents posted today by the National Security Archive at George Washington University (www.nsarchive.org).
Nov 16, 2010 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., November 16, 2010 - To counter a Soviet bomber attack, U.S. war plans contemplated widespread use of thousands of air defense weapons during the middle years of the Cold War according to declassified documents posted today at the National Security Archive's Nuclear Vault and cited by a recently published book, Continental Defense in the Eisenhower Era: Nuclear Antiaircraft Arms and the Cold War (Palgrave Macmillan) by historian Christopher J. Bright. The U.S.
Jun 23, 2010 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., June 23, 2010 - Four decades ago, in response to North Korean military provocations, the U.S. developed contingency plans that included selected use of tactical nuclear weapons against Pyongyang’s military facilities and the possibility of full-scale war, according to recently declassified documents.

Pages