30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Nuclear Strategy and Weapons

Oct 27, 2012 | Briefing Book
Washington, DC, October 27, 2012 – The Cuban Missile Crisis continued long after the "13 days" celebrated by U.S. media, with U.S. armed forces still on DEFCON 2 and Soviet tactical nuclear weapons still in Cuba, according to new documents posted today by the National Security Archive (www.nsarchive.org) from the personal archive of the late Sergo Mikoyan. This is the second installment from the Mikoyan archive donated to the National Security Archive and featured in the new book, The Soviet Cuban Missile Crisis.

Oct 24, 2012 | Briefing Book
Washington, DC, October 24, 2012 – Extreme temperatures, equipment breakdowns, and the reckless deployment of nuclear torpedoes aboard Soviet submarines near the quarantine line during the Cuban Missile Crisis 50 years ago this week elevated the already-high danger factor in the Crisis, according to Soviet and American documents and testimonies included in a new Web posting by the National Security Archive (www.nsarchive.org).

Oct 19, 2012 | Briefing Book
The Pentagon during the Cuban Missile Crisis Part II. Day-By-Day Washington, DC, October 19, 2012 – Notes, office calendars, and daily journals from Pentagon top secret files published today for the first time by the National Security Archive show top civilian Pentagon officials and their military aides and advisers working around the clock during the Cuban Missile Crisis trying to ensure that military operations did not inadvertently spark a military confrontation with the Soviet Union.

Oct 16, 2012 | Briefing Book
The Pentagon during the Cuban Missile Crisis Part I. New Documents Washington, DC, October 16, 2012 – Fifty years after President Kennedy considered invading Cuba to take out Soviet missiles during the Cuban Missile Crisis, newly declassified Pentagon documents published today by the National Security Archive (www.nsarchive.org) describe the potentially catastrophic risks of the invasion including 18,500 American casualties in the first 10 days, even without any nuclear explosions. U.S.

Oct 12, 2012 | Special Exhibit
The Cuban missile crisis 50th anniversary

Oct 10, 2012 | Briefing Book
Washington, DC, October 10, 2012 – In November 1962, Cuba was preparing to become the first nuclear power in Latin America—at the time when the Kennedy administration thought that the Cuban Missile Crisis was long resolved and the Soviet missiles were out. However, the Soviet and the Cuban leadership knew that the most dangerous weapons of the crisis—tactical Lunas and FKRs—were still in Cuba. They were battlefield weapons, which would have been used against the U.S. landing forces if the EXCOMM had decided on an invasion, not the quarantine.

Sep 14, 2012 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., September 14, 2012 – The National Security Archive is today posting - for the first time in its essentially complete form - one of the most controversial nuclear policy directives of the Cold War. Presidential Directive 59 (PD-59), "Nuclear Weapons Employment Policy," signed by President Jimmy Carter on 25 July 1980, aimed at giving U.S.

May 29, 2012 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., May 29, 2012 - A secret exercise in 1986 by a U.S. government counter-terrorist unit uncovered a host of potential problems associated with disrupting a nuclear terrorist plot in the United States. Declassified documents released under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and posted today by the National Security Archive offer the first detailed public look at the inner workings of the agencies, military units and other U.S. entities responsible for protecting the country from a terrorist nuclear attack.

Mar 23, 2012 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., March 23, 2012 – A central element of the current debate over how to deal with Iran's nuclear program has focused on the possible difficulty of destroying the Qom underground uranium enrichment facility via air strikes. However, documents posted today by the National Security Archive show that Qom is only the latest in a long series of alleged and real underground facilities that for decades have been a high priority challenge for U.S. and allied intelligence collection and analysis efforts, as well as for military planners.

Mar 1, 2012 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., March 1, 2012 – During the 2008 campaign, Democratic presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama debated the question: who was best suited to be suddenly awakened at 3 a.m. in the White House to make a tough call in a crisis. The candidates probably meant news of trouble in the Middle East or a terrorist attack in the United States or in a major ally, not an 'end of the world' phone call about a major nuclear strike on the United States. In fact at least one such phone call occurred during the Cold War, but it did not go to the President.

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