30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Armed Forces and Military Strategy

May 2, 2004 | Briefing Book
Two months after the leak of the Pentagon Papers generated front page headlines and a landmark Supreme Court case, TIME magazine reported: "State's Secrets. The Pentagon, it seems, was not the only Government department to make a top-secret retrospective study of the nation's decisions in Vietnam. In 1968 Tom Hughes, then director of the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, ordered another report, far less voluminous and ambitious but with considerable potential impact.
Apr 19, 2004 | Briefing Book
Trying to report intelligently on the Mexican military is like trying to see in the dark - it's all shadowy outlines and no details. The army is famously secretive, opaque, and hostile to public scrutiny. Just ask the people who write about it. "The army has never provided information to outsiders on its own initiative," explains Raul Benнtez Manuat, a scholar for the Center for Research on North America at UNAM and visiting professor at the National Defense University in Washington who has written extensively about the Mexican armed forces.
Jan 20, 2004 | Briefing Book
When the United States government considered the rebellion in Chiapas, it did so through the twin lenses of its primary national interests: money and power. The Zapatista uprising - which exploded on January 1, 1994, the eve of the inauguration of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) - challenged an image of Mexico that had been peddled for months in the halls of the U.S. Congress in an effort to gain approval for the historic trade pact.
Dec 23, 2002 | Briefing Book
Today, The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists published an article, "Nixon's Nuclear Ploy,'' by National Security Archive senior analyst William Burr and Miami University historian Jeffrey Kimball,(1) that discloses for the first time one of the Nixon administration's most secret military operations. During October 1969, President Richard Nixon ordered the Pentagon to undertake secretly a series of military measures designed to put U.S. nuclear forces on a higher state of readiness. For nearly three weeks, U.S. nuclear bombers were on higher alert, while U.S.
Oct 31, 2002 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., 31 October 2002-- Forty years ago today, the U.S. Navy forced to the surface a Soviet submarine, which unbeknownst to the Navy, was carrying a nuclear-tipped torpedo. This was the third surfacing of a Soviet submarine during the Cuban Missile Crisis. After a day of persistent tracking by the U.S. destroyer, the Charles P. Cecil, commanded by Captain Charles Rozier, Soviet submarine B-36, commanded by Captain Aleksei Dubivko, exhausted its batteries forcing it to come to the surface. On 27 and 30 October respectively, U.S.
Oct 12, 2002 | News
Havana, Cuba, 12 October 2002, 1 p.m. - During the third session of the historic 40th anniversary conference on the Cuban missile crisis, participants including Cuban president Fidel Castro and former US secretary of defense Robert McNamara discussed newly declassified documents showing that the crisis did not end after the famous "13 days," but continued at a high level until late November, in large part because of Cuban rejection of Soviet concessions. The documents show that the Soviet nuclear-armed tactical weapons in Cuba stayed there after the missiles were withdrawn, and may even have been intended for Cuban custody.
Oct 11, 2002 | News
Havana, Cuba, 11 October 2002, 5 p.m. - During the second session of the historic 40th anniversary conference on the Cuban missile crisis, participants including Cuban president Fidel Castro and former US secretary of defense Robert McNamara discussed newly declassified documents showing that events were spinning out of control at the height of the crisis, with the danger of an accidental or deliberate nuclear exchange even greater than policymakers believed at the time. US intelligence never located the nuclear warheads for the Soviet missiles in Cuba during the crisis, and only 33 of what photography later showed was a total of 42 medium-range ballistic missiles.
Oct 11, 2002 | News
Havana, Cuba, 11 October 2002, 1 p.m. - During the first session of the historic 40th anniversary conference on the Cuban missile crisis, participants including Cuban president Fidel Castro and former US secretary of defense Robert McNamara discussed newly declassified documents showing that US president John F. Kennedy, in meetings with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev's son-in-law Adzhubei in January 1962, compared the US failure at the Bay of Pigs to the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956. JFK also assured Adzhubei that the US "will not meddle" with Cuba, but at the same time, the US Joint Chiefs of Staff were preparing "cover and deception plans" that included planned pretexts for a US invasion of Cuba. The President's brother, attorney general Robert F. Kennedy, simultaneously was leading discussions with the CIA and Pentagon about covert operations (codenamed Operation Mongoose) on the proposition that "a solution to the Cuban problem today carries 'the top priority in the United States government….'"
Oct 10, 2002 | News
Havana, Cuba, 10 October 2002 - Senior surviving veterans of the Cuban missile crisis arrived today in Havana for a historic 40th anniversary conference co-organized by the National Security Archive at George Washington University. At an airport arrival ceremony, Cuban vice president Jose Ramon Fernandez greeted former US secretary of defense Robert McNamara, JFK speechwriter and counsel Theodore Sorensen, JFK aide and Pulitzer-Prize-winning historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr., Gen. William Y. Smith (USAF), JFK aide Richard Goodwin, CIA analyst Dino Brugioni, and other US veterans and scholars. Also attending the conference as honored observers are several members of the Kennedy family spanning three generations. Earlier this week, a distinguished delegation of Russian veterans arrived in Havana from Moscow, including former deputy foreign minister Georgy Kornienko, missile deployment planner Gen. Anatoly Gribkov, former defense minister Dmitry Yazov, and KGB officer Nikolai Leonov.
Oct 1, 2002 | News
Washington, D.C., 1 October 2002 – The National Security Archive at George Washington University announced today that the senior surviving veterans of the Cuban Missile Crisis will gather in Havana, Cuba, next week to discuss new evidence and lessons learned from the moment when the world came closest to nuclear war 40 years ago.  Leading Cuban historical actors will host participants such as secretary of defense Robert McNamara, JFK speechwriter and counsel Theodore Sorensen, and JFK aide and Pulitzer-Prize-winning historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr., among others.  From Russia, deputy foreign minister Georgy Kornienko, missile deployment planner Gen. Anatoly Gribkov, KGB officer Nikolai Leonov, and others will participate.

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