30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Nuclear Strategy and Weapons

Dec 22, 2015 | Briefing Book
The SAC [Strategic Air Command] Atomic Weapons Requirements Study for 1959, produced in June 1956 and published today for the first time by the National Security Archive www.nsarchive.org, provides the most comprehensive and detailed list of nuclear targets and target systems that has ever been declassified. As far as can be told, no comparable document has ever been declassified for any period of Cold War history. The SAC study includes chilling details.
Oct 24, 2015 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., October 24, 2015 – The newly released Soviet "War Scare" report - previously classified "TOP SECRET UMBRA GAMMA WNINTEL NOFORN NOCONTRACT ORCON" and published today after a 12-year fight by the National Security Archive – reveals that the 1983 War Scare was real. According to the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB), the United States "may have inadvertently placed our relations with the Soviet Union on a hair trigger" during the 1983 NATO nuclear release exercise, Able Archer 83.
Aug 4, 2015 | Briefing Book
August 4, 2015- A few months after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, General Dwight D. Eisenhower commented during a social occasion “how he had hoped that the war might have ended without our having to use the atomic bomb.” This virtually unknown evidence from the diary of Robert P. Meiklejohn, an assistant to Ambassador W. Averell Harriman, published for the first time today by the National Security Archive, confirms that the future President Eisenhower had early misgivings about the first use of atomic weapons by the United States. General George C.
May 29, 2015 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., May 29, 2015 — President Richard Nixon and his national security adviser Henry Kissinger believed they could compel "the other side" to back down during crises in the Middle East and Vietnam by "push[ing] so many chips into the pot" that Nixon would seem 'crazy' enough to "go much further," according to newly declassified documents published today by the National Security Archive.
May 25, 2015 | Briefing Book
"Anatoly Chernyaev's diary is one of the great internal records of the Gorbachev years, a trove of irreplaceable observations about a turning point in history. There is nothing else quite like it, allowing the reader to sit at Gorbachev's elbow at the time of perestroika and glasnost, experiencing the breakthroughs and setbacks. It is a major contribution to our understanding of this momentous period." — David E.
Mar 24, 2015 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., March 24, 2015 – A new scientific memoir by one of the few surviving participants in the U.S. H-bomb project provides fresh information and insights into the production of the world's first thermonuclear device. In an exclusive essay and selection of declassified documents provided to the National Security Archive and posted today on the Archive's website (www.nsarchive.org), the author, Dr. Kenneth W.
Oct 21, 2014 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., October 21, 2014 –The secretive missile-tracking center known as DEFSMAC began at the National Security Agency 50 years ago in order to consolidate the multiple alerts and reports on Soviet missile launches, and now includes the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency along with the Defense Intelligence Agency as partners in a global 24/7 missile and space surveillance effort, according to declassified documents posted today by the National Security Archive at George Washington University (www.nsarchive.org). Compiled and introduced by Archive senior fellow Dr. Jeffrey T.
Jul 22, 2014 | Briefing Book
Reports of the Net Evaluation Subcommittee Washington, D.C., July 22, 2014 – On the morning of 20 July 1961, while the Berlin Crisis was simmering, President John F. Kennedy and the members of the National Security Council heard a briefing on the consequences of nuclear war by the NSC's highly secret Net Evaluation Subcommittee. The report, published in excerpts today for the first time by the National Security Archive, depicted a Soviet surprise attack on the United States in the fall of 1963 that began with submarine-launched missile strikes against Strategic Air Command bases.
Dec 11, 2013 | Briefing Book
Washington, DC, December 11, 2013 – The last Soviet nuclear warheads in Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis did not leave the island until December 1, 1962, according to Soviet military documents published today for the first time in English by the National Security Archive at George Washington University (www.nsarchive.org). At 9 o'clock in the morning on December 1, 1962, the large Soviet cargo ship Arkhangelsk quietly left the Cuban port of Mariel and headed east across the Atlantic to its home port of Severomorsk near Murmansk.
Oct 7, 2013 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., October 7, 2013 – A nuclear accident never produced a nuclear detonation, but according to a new book by Eric Schlosser every nuclear-tipped missile "is an accident waiting to happen, a potential act of mass murder." Schlosser's book, Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Incident, and the Illusion of Safety (Penguin Press, 2013) includes a truly sobering account of safety breakdowns and failures from the 1950s to the 1980s.

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