30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Nuclear Strategy and Weapons

Apr 11, 2013 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., April 11, 2013 – For decades, the erratic behavior of North Korea's enigmatic leaders has often masked a mix of symbolic and pragmatic motives, according to declassified documents posted today by the National Security Archive. During earlier crises, Kim Jong Un's father and grandfather postured and threatened the region in ways markedly similar to the behavior of the new leader, the records show. While the current Kim is acting even more stridently in some cases, the documents reveal a past pattern characterized by bellicose conduct.
Jan 1, 2013 | Sourcebook
The definitive online collection of over 1,000 pages of declassified documents on the 1983 War Scare Project directed by Nate Jones
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.
Nov 19, 2012 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., November 19, 2012 – For decades, U.S. command-control-and-communications (C3) systems were deeply vulnerable to nuclear attack, according to a recently declassified Pentagon study. The document, a top secret internal history of the highly complex procedures that connected the White House and senior civilian and military leaders with local commanders awaiting orders to launch bombers and missiles, details sometimes harrowing reports about systemic weaknesses that could have jeopardized U.S. readiness to respond to a nuclear attack.
Oct 27, 2012 | Briefing Book
Washington, DC, October 27, 2012 – The Cuban Missile Crisis continued long after the "13 days" celebrated by U.S. media, with U.S. armed forces still on DEFCON 2 and Soviet tactical nuclear weapons still in Cuba, according to new documents posted today by the National Security Archive (www.nsarchive.org) from the personal archive of the late Sergo Mikoyan. This is the second installment from the Mikoyan archive donated to the National Security Archive and featured in the new book, The Soviet Cuban Missile Crisis.
Oct 24, 2012 | Briefing Book
Washington, DC, October 24, 2012 – Extreme temperatures, equipment breakdowns, and the reckless deployment of nuclear torpedoes aboard Soviet submarines near the quarantine line during the Cuban Missile Crisis 50 years ago this week elevated the already-high danger factor in the Crisis, according to Soviet and American documents and testimonies included in a new Web posting by the National Security Archive (www.nsarchive.org).
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 12, 2012 | Special Exhibit
The Cuban missile crisis 50th anniversary
Oct 10, 2012 | Briefing Book
Washington, DC, October 10, 2012 – In November 1962, Cuba was preparing to become the first nuclear power in Latin America—at the time when the Kennedy administration thought that the Cuban Missile Crisis was long resolved and the Soviet missiles were out. However, the Soviet and the Cuban leadership knew that the most dangerous weapons of the crisis—tactical Lunas and FKRs—were still in Cuba. They were battlefield weapons, which would have been used against the U.S. landing forces if the EXCOMM had decided on an invasion, not the quarantine.

Pages