Nuclear Strategy and Weapons
Previously Classified Interviews with Former Soviet Officials Reveal U.S. Strategic Intelligence Failure Over DecadesSep 11, 2009 | Briefing Book br>
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 br>
Pentagon classification authorities are treating classified historical documents as if they contain today's secrets, rather than decades-old information that has not been secret for years.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 br>
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 br>
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 br>
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.
Jun 25, 2008 | Briefing Book br>
Washington, DC, June 25, 2008 - American signals intelligence collectors tracked the activation of Soviet air defenses prior to the shootdown of a U.S. spy plane at the peak of the Cuban missile crisis, according to documents published on the Web today by the National Security Archive.
Jun 18, 2008 | Briefing Book br>
Washington, DC, June 18, 2008 - The CIA failed to identify the storage bunkers for Soviet nuclear warheads in Cuba during the October 1962 Cuban missile crisis, despite obtaining numerous photographs of the sites, according to new materials -- including a selection of photos -- being published on the Web today by the National Security Archive.
Jun 11, 2008 | Briefing Book br>
Washington, DC, June 11, 2008 - An American spy plane went missing over the Soviet Union at the height of the Cuban missile crisis for one and a quarter hours without the Air Force informing either President Kennedy or Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, according to a new book by Washington Post reporter Michael Dobbs (drawing on documents posted here today by the National Security Archive.)
Jun 4, 2008 | Briefing Book br>
Washington, DC, June 4, 2008 - Soviet nuclear-tipped cruise missiles were ready to destroy the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo had the U.S. military persuaded President Kennedy to invade Cuba during the missile crisis in 1962, according to a new book by Washington Post reporter Michael Dobbs (citing documents and interviews posted here today by the National Security Archive).
Air Force Histories Released through Archive Lawsuit Show Cautious Presidents Overruling Air Force Plans for Early Use of Nuclear WeaponsApr 30, 2008 | Briefing Book br>
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.