30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Nuclear Strategy and Weapons

Nov 5, 2018 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C.,  November 5,  2018 – Beginning in 1981, the KGB’s “main objective” became “not to miss the military preparations of the enemy, its preparations for a nuclear strike, and not to miss the real risk of the outbreak of war,” according to the text of a previously secret speech by then-KGB Chairman Yuri Andropov  found in the Ukrainian KGB archives and published today by the National Security Archive.

Aug 15, 2018 | Briefing Book
U.S. nuclear war plans during the Johnson administration included the option of a retaliatory strike against nuclear, conventional military, and urban-industrial targets with the purpose of removing the Soviet Union “from the category of a major industrial power” and destroying it as a “viable” society.  This is one disclosure from a Joint Staff review of the Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP) obtained via a Mandatory Declassification Review request by the George Washington University-based National Security Archive and posted on our site today.

Jul 9, 2018 | Briefing Book
Online blustering about nuclear “buttons” has brought new attention to the issue of presidential control over nuclear weapons, and to the special satchel or “Football” of emergency and nuclear planning information carried by White House military aides when the President is traveling.  Declassified documents published today by the National Security Archive describe the Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson arrangements for the “Football”; and the posting includes newly discovered White House photographs of six recent Presidents with military aides and the Football nearby.

Apr 6, 2018 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., April 6, 2018 – Secret CIA interviews with East bloc scientists and technicians in the mid-1950s yielded invaluable insights into Soviet nuclear capabilities, according to recently declassified intelligence records posted today by the George Washington University-based National Security Archive. 

Jan 11, 2018 | News
Washington, D.C., January 11, 2018 - A new book by long-time colleagues of the National Security Archive, James G. Blight and janet M. Lang, offers a fresh exploration of the 1962 Cuban missile crisis and plumbs its lessons on the continuing dangers of nuclear war.

Nov 30, 2017 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., November 30, 2017 – U.S. presidents sometimes made nuclear threats in the course of Cold War crises and confrontations, but powerful social norms – not just military considerations – inhibited them from initiating the combat use of nuclear weapons, according to declassified documents posted today by the nongovernmental National Security Archive.

Oct 16, 2017 | Briefing Book
The United States planned for the military occupation of Cuba in 1962 with a temporary American military governor in charge, according to newly declassified documents

Jun 21, 2017 | Blog Post
The U.S. Military History Group awarded Nixon’s Nuclear Specter: The Secret Alert of 1969, Madman Diplomacy, and the Vietnam War, with an Honorable Mention for the 2016 Captain Richard Lukaszewick Memorial Book Award. The award recognizes “outstanding” books on US military history from 1945 through 2001. The members of the award selection committee agreed that Nixon’s Nuclear Specter, […]

May 30, 2017 | Blog Post
This post was originally published by The Wilson Center. How a lunch in Rio de Janeiro confirmed a US diplomat’s hunches about Brazilian nuclear weapons research  The history of nuclear proliferation is partly a story of countries searching for latent weapons potential, without ever committing to build a complete device. A recently declassified letter from Miller […]

Feb 15, 2017 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C. February 15, 2017 – The Air Force chief of staff told the Joint Chiefs at a September 1971 meeting that in a nuclear war the United States “could lose two hundred million people and still have more than we had at the time of the Civil War.” The quote comes from a recently declassified and highly revealing diary entry by JCS Chairman Thomas Moorer, published today for the first time by the National Security Archive at The George Washington University. The other chiefs did not challenge Gen.

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