30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Nuclear Strategy and Weapons

Feb 19, 2011 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., February 19, 2011 - "The Power of Decision" may be the first (and perhaps the only) U.S. government film depicting the Cold War nightmare of a U.S.-Soviet nuclear conflict. The U.S. Air Force produced it during 1956-1957 at the request of the Strategic Air Command. Unseen for years and made public for the first time by the National Security Archive, the film depicts the U.S. Air Force's implementation of war plan "Quick Strike" in response to a Soviet surprise attack against the United States and European and East Asian allies.

Nov 16, 2010 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., November 16, 2010 - To counter a Soviet bomber attack, U.S. war plans contemplated widespread use of thousands of air defense weapons during the middle years of the Cold War according to declassified documents posted today at the National Security Archive's Nuclear Vault and cited by a recently published book, Continental Defense in the Eisenhower Era: Nuclear Antiaircraft Arms and the Cold War (Palgrave Macmillan) by historian Christopher J. Bright. The U.S.

Jun 23, 2010 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., June 23, 2010 - Four decades ago, in response to North Korean military provocations, the U.S. developed contingency plans that included selected use of tactical nuclear weapons against Pyongyang’s military facilities and the possibility of full-scale war, according to recently declassified documents.

Dec 10, 2009 | Briefing Book
"Each side took steps to ensure its own security which the other in turn perceived as threatening its security." -- Raymond L. Garthoff (Note 1) Washington, D.C., December 10, 2009 - Thirty years ago, on 12 December 1979, NATO defense and foreign ministers made a landmark decision designed to unify the alliance, but which also contributed to the collapse of dйtente and helped provide an agenda for the end of the Cold War. On the anniversary of the NATO "dual-track" decision that linked deployments of U.S.

Sep 11, 2009 | Briefing Book
Washington, DC, September 11, 2009 - During a 1972 command post exercise, leaders of the Kremlin listened to a briefing on the results of a hypothetical war with the United States. A U.S. attack would kill 80 million Soviet citizens and destroy 85 percent of the country's industrial capacity.

Jul 17, 2009 | Briefing Book
Pentagon classification authorities are treating classified historical documents as if they contain today's secrets, rather than decades-old information that has not been secret for years. Today the National Security Archive posted multiple versions of the same documents—on issues ranging from the 1973 October War to anti-ballistic missiles, strategic arms control, and U.S. policy toward China—that are already declassified and in the public domain.

May 1, 2009 | Briefing Book
Washington, DC, May 1, 2009 - President Obama's recent call for a "world without nuclear weapons" immediately raised questions of how do you get there, what does deterrence actually require before you get there, and how many nuclear weapons would that involve at each step. Exactly these questions of "how much is enough" were raised fifty years ago in secret debate within the U.S. government, when Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Arleigh Burke argued that a small force of mainly nuclear missile-launching Polaris submarines was enough for deterrence.

Nov 14, 2008 | Briefing Book
Washington DC, November 14, 2008 - Forty-six years ago, a month before the Cuban Missile crisis, Soviet leaders put their strategic forces on their “highest readiness stage since the beginning of the Cold War,” according to a newly declassified internal history of the National Security Agency published today for the first time by the National Security Archive.

Jul 2, 2008 | Briefing Book
Washington, DC, July 2, 2008 - Senior Kennedy administration aides claimed incorrectly that U.S. warships had come “eyeball to eyeball” with Soviet missile-carrying ships during the Cuban missile crisis, a myth that has persisted for over four decades, according to evidence published today by the National Security Archive.

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