30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Nuclear Strategy and Weapons

Apr 30, 2008 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., April 30, 2008 - The U.S. Air Force expected to use nuclear weapons against China during the Taiwan Strait crisis of 1958, but President Eisenhower required the Air Force to plan initially to use conventional bombs against Chinese forces if the crisis escalated, according to a previously secret Air Force history obtained from a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit and posted today by the National Security Archive. Eisenhower's instructions astounded the Air Force leadership, but according to Bernard Nalty, the author of one of the studies released today, U.S.
Nov 21, 2007 | Briefing Book
Update - 1 October 2009 - On 11 September 2009, as a sidebar to the posting "Previously Classified Interviews with Former Soviet Officials Reveal U.S. Strategic Intelligence Failure Over Decades," the National Security Archive posted histories of SIOP-62 and 63, with more information declassified by the Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel (ISCAP). Those updated versions replace the histories originally posted in 2007—Documents 1 and 2 below.
Aug 18, 2006 | Briefing Book
Cold War Missile Numbers "De-re-classified" On 26 September 2006, the Department of Defense's Washington Headquarters Services duly released, as a result of an administrative appeal, unredacted versions of the 1971 charts, first published in a public report by Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird. This was, as it should have been, a routine decision to correct a mistake. Pentagon reviewers had previously treated the charts, which included numbers of U.S. strategic missiles and bombers, among other weapons systems, as classified documents.
Jul 31, 2006 | Briefing Book
Washington, DC - July 31, 2006 - During the past year, indications that the Bush White House was seriously considering a "nuclear option" against Iranian nuclear sites understandably alarmed many in the press and public as well as the U.S. high command. Some treated such alleged planning as saber-rattling bluff, while others saw it as an example of a related madman strategy. These scenarios are not without historical precedent.
Nov 23, 2005 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., November 23, 2005 - The nuclear war plans that constitute the Single Integrated Operational Plan have been among the most closely guarded secrets in the U.S. government. The handful of substantive documents on the first SIOP -- SIOP-62 (for fiscal year 1962) -- that have been the source of knowledge about it have been declassified, reclassified, re-released, and then closed again, fortunately not before key items had been copied at the archives.
Aug 5, 2005 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., August 5, 2005 - Sixty years ago this month, the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Soviet Union declared war on Japan, and the Japanese government surrendered to the United States and its allies. The nuclear age had truly begun with the first military use of atomic weapons. With the material that follows, the National Security Archive publishes the most comprehensive on-line collection to date of declassified U.S. government documents on the atomic bomb and the end of the war in the Pacific.
Jul 1, 2005 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C. July 1, 2005 - A decision to use nuclear weapons is one of the most politically, militarily, and morally perilous decisions that a U.S. president, or any leader of a nuclear state, can make. Recognizing that nuclear weapons differ from any other weapons because of their immense power and danger, President Lyndon B. Johnson once argued that a decision to use them "would lead us down an uncertain path of blows and counterblows whose outcome none may know." (Note 1) Johnson, like most U.S.
May 13, 2005 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C. May 13, 2005 - The Soviet-led Warsaw Pact had a long-standing strategy to attack Western Europe that included being the first to use nuclear weapons, according to a new book of previously Secret Warsaw Pact documents published tomorrow. Although the aim was apparently to preempt NATO "aggression," the Soviets clearly expected that nuclear war was likely and planned specifically to fight and win such a conflict.
Jul 13, 2004 | News
The U.S. included so many nuclear weapons in its first missile-age plan for nuclear war that top military commanders called it a "hazard to ourselves as well as our enemy," according to newly declassified documents posted today by the National Security Archive at George Washington University. Under the first Single Integrated Operational Plan, prepared during 1960, a Russian city the size of Nagasaki--devastated in 1945 with a twenty kiloton bomb--would receive three 80 kiloton weapons. President Dwight D.
Jul 13, 2004 | Briefing Book
Since it was first created in 1960, the Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP)--the U.S. plan for nuclear war--has been one of the most secret and sensitive issues in U.S. national security policy. The essence of the first SIOP was a massive nuclear strike on military and urban-industrial targets in the Soviet Union, China, and their allies. To make such an attack possible, U.S.

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