30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Nuclear Strategy and Weapons

Jan 14, 2004 | Briefing Book
Scenarios of nuclear attacks on the United States, whether by terrorist or state adversaries, have assumed that Washington, D.C. would be a major target. A startling article published as the cover story of theJanuary-February 2004 issue of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists describes the enormously destructive effects to the Washington, D.C. area if, on a clear day, an adversary exploded, 1500 feet above the Pentagon, a nuclear weapon with an explosive force of 300 kilotons (20 times the explosive force of the Hiroshima weapon).
Jan 14, 2004 | News
Washington, D.C. - A nuclear weapon at the "small" end of historic strategic arsenals that exploded over the Pentagon would create a mass fire that would engulf the Washington, D.C. area as far as Capitol Hill, Dupont Circle, and Alexandria. According to a study published this month, the detonation would not only unleash the well-known blast effects and hurricane force winds that would crush the Pentagon and knock over nearby buildings, but the bomb would also generate a "hurricane of fire" that would destroy almost everything within 40 to 65 square miles.
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 29, 2002 | Special Exhibit
Press releases, selected documents, photographs, audio clips and other material from the historic conference in Havana. Formerly secret documents from U.S., Cuban, Soviet and East Bloc archives. Listen in on White House intelligence briefings and hear the actual voices of President Kennedy, his brother Robert, and other advisers during meetings of the President's Executive Committee (ExComm). Images of Soviet missile and antiaircraft installations taken by U-2 spyplanes and U.S. Navy low-level reconnaissance aircraft in October-November 1962 used to brief President Kennedy and his advisers. Documents, naval charts and other declassified records on the U.S. hunt for Soviet submarines during the most dangerous days of the crisis.
Nov 29, 2001 | News
Vienna, Munich, Verona, and other European population and cultural centers were to be “completely destroyed,” according to 1965 Warsaw Pact plans for war in Europe made public today on the Zurich-based web site of the Parallel History Project on NATO and the Warsaw Pact (PHP) -- an international consortium of scholars dedicated to the study of the historical background of European security, http://www.isn.ethz.ch/php. Found in the Hungarian archives, the documents are vivid reminders of the menace posed by the Cold War nuclear arsenals that Presiden
Sep 25, 2001 | Briefing Book
In stark contrast to the close U.S.-Russian relationship of today, forty years ago serious tensions over Berlin and Germany and the danger of world war clouded Moscow-Washington relations. Fred Kaplan's article in the October 2001 issue of The Atlantic Monthly, "JFK's First Strike Plan," shows that key White House officials and the President himself briefly considered proposals for a limited nuclear first strike against Soviet military targets in the event that the Berlin crisis turned violent.
May 18, 2001 | News
WASHINGTON, DC - President Dwight D. Eisenhower's top secret instructions that delegated nuclear-launch authority to military commanders and the Secretary of Defense under specific emergency conditions, declassified for the first time last month, today appeared on the World Wide Web site of the National Security Archive, which obtained released of this highly sensitive document after repeated efforts starting in 1993.
Apr 1, 2001 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., April 2001 – The Bush administration is in the midst of a nuclear posture review. In his May 1 speech, President George W. Bush announced his support for missile defense and cuts in weapons, but his announcement did not refer to the alert posture of U.S. strategic forces. In a major campaign speech on nuclear weapons policy that he delivered in May 2000, then-presidential candidate Bush addressed concerns about the instant-reaction status of U.S. strategic nuclear forces.
Dec 18, 2000 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., December 18, 2000 – President Clinton's decision in September to postpone deployment of a National Missile Defense (NMD) system puts the issue in the lap of the next president, George W. Bush. A strong advocate of NMD, Bush has argued that "America must build effective missile defenses based on the best available options at the earlier possible date." However, he has not yet publicly discussed the intractable technical and political problems raised by NMD that, so far, are without solution.
May 24, 2000 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., May 24, 2000 – The release of Cold War-era Soviet and East European documents on war plans and nuclear planning raises questions about U.S. war planning during the same period. A central issue is the degree to which U.S. and NATO planning posited early or initial use of nuclear weapons like the 1964 Warsaw Pact plan from the Czech archives.

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