Anyone else heard of SIOP?

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U.S. Nuclear War Plans A "Hazard to Ourselves as Well as Our Enemy"

Overkill Problem Led Top Commanders to Complain About the SIOP's Destructiveness


The U.S. included so many nuclear weapons in its first missile-age plan for nuclear war that top military commanders called it a "hazard to ourselves as well as our enemy," according to newly declassified documents posted today by the National Security Archive at George Washington University.
Under the first Single Integrated Operational Plan, prepared during 1960, a Russian city the size of Nagasaki--devastated in 1945 with a twenty kiloton bomb--would receive three 80 kiloton weapons. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, then leaving office, along with Navy leaders and White House Science Adviser George Kistiakowsky, was deeply critical of the SIOP's overkill. Eisenhower was later reported to have said that the plan "frighten[ed] the devil out of me." Incoming Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara soon decried the "fantastic" levels of fallout that attacks on a multitude of Soviet targets would produce.
Ever since its creation, the SIOP has been one of the U.S. government's deepest secrets. Even historical information about U.S. nuclear war plans has been hard to come by and documents once available become reclassified again. Today's posting includes never before published as well as previously declassified key documents from 1959-1961 on the history of SIOP-62 (for fiscal year 1962). Among the disclosures in the documents:
-- The SIOP included retaliatory and preemptive options; preemption could occur if U.S. authorities had strategic warning of a Soviet attack;
-- A full nuclear SIOP strike launched on a preemptive basis would have delivered over 3200 nuclear weapons to 1060 targets in the Soviet Union, China, and allied countries in Asia and Europe;
-- A full nuclear strike by SIOP forces on high alert, launched in retaliation to a Soviet strike, would have delivered 1706 nuclear weapons against a total of 725 targets in the Soviet Union, China, and allied states;
-- Targets would have included nuclear weapons, government and military control centers, and at least 130 cities in the Soviet Union, China, and allies;
-- Alarmed White House scientists, Army and Navy leaders were concerned that the SIOP would deliver too many nuclear weapons to Soviet and Chinese territory and that the weapons that missed targets "will kill a lot of Russians and Chinese" and that fallout from the weapons "can be a hazard to ourselves as well as our enemy";
-- According to the damage expectancy criteria of SIOP-62, it would take three 80 kiloton weapons to destroy a city like Nagasaki--which the U.S. had actually bombed with a 22 kiloton weapon;
-- The Marine Corp commandant was concerned that the SIOP provides for the "attack of a single list of Sino-Soviet countries" and makes no "distinction" between Communist countries that were at war with the United States and those that were not;
-- The Defense Department has overclassified and inconsistently released information about the SIOP.

Some evidence exists that after the Cold War ended, Strategic Air Command commander-in-chief General Lee Butler tried to curb what he saw as the SIOP's "grotesque excesses" by paring down the huge target lists. Security classification, however, hides whether General Butler's reforms took hold or whether the SIOP remains an instrument of overkill.
press release from the national security archive, a nonprofit organistation that collects declassified govt documents:
http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB130/press.htm
& more details here:
http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB130/index.htm
:surprised
Were those military planners nuts or what?!
 
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mezarashi
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fourier jr said:
Were those military planners nuts or what?!
They definitely have been playing too much Command & Conquer. Let us hope that Nagasaki and Hiroshima were the last to see this horrible invention of ours.
 
russ_watters
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Wow, 45 year old issue, but anyway....
fourier jr said:
Were those military planners nuts or what?!
No, they weren't nuts, they were MAD (Mutually-Assured Destruction). It's tough to prove the negative that MAD worked (the Cold War did not produce a nuclear war, but was MAD the reason why?) but at the same time, it didn't do what critics said it would do - it didn't produce a nuclear war.

Anyway, yeah, the SIOP is what the nuclear football (that briefcase that the military officer following the President around carries) contains.
 
BobG
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What the article doesn't mention is that 1962 was ten years before the first anti-ballistic missile treaty. While neither the US or the USSR were able to develop an effective ABM shield, the promise of the opponent's ABM technology always looked promising enough that each side had to make sure they had enough missiles to overwhelm it.

Initially, with one warhead per missile, most would have expected the defense to always have an advantage in cost. The warheads on the defensive missiles could be smaller, meaning smaller boost and less fuel.

Of course, developing a system that could reliably destroy incoming missiles is a huge initial obstacle, but it seemed almost certain that both sides would eventually be capable of developing some type of defense that would at least raise the required number of missiles for the opponent. As was usual for the time, just the possibility of ABMs tomorrow turned the requirements for more missiles today into reality. It makes some sense since the missiles had better already be on station when the opponents defensive system comes on line. The alternative would be the possibility of the other side launching their missiles as soon as their defensive system was in place - when the disparity between the two sides would be at its greatest.

Multiple Independtly-targeted Re-entry Vehicles (MIRVs) developed in the mid to late 60's made the idea of a cost effective defense obsolete. One attacking missile could launch several warheads and the defense would need one missile per warhead. In other words, the 1972 treaty between the US and USSR banned a capability that had already been rendered obsolete (it did set the stage for future negotiations and treaties on nuclear weapons, though).
 
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I borrow here extensively from YES PRIME MINISTER (a British Sit-Com) which was write on the button.

If the Russians would have tried anything, during COLD WAR, it would have been by salami tactics (slice by slice). For example sending troops into east Berlin to quell trouble, then the East Berlin authorities inviting the troops to stay, and then the annexation of friendly states.

All reasonably nations say they would only push the nuclear button if they were given no choice. But because of the Russians using salami tactics, they will probably never push the nuclear button, as you cannot reasonable nuke somebody for annexing a nation without creating internation backlash unimaginable!!

So - is it MAD to believe in MAD?
 
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Nato had hundreds of tactical nuclear weapons to deal with possible "slice by slice" tactics by the Russians. For the most part the tacticle weapons were nuclear tipped artillery shells and short range missles.

Because the Russians did not have a centralized command and control, individual commanders had the authority to launch an attack. An accidental attack was also a great possibility.
 
devil-fire
its nice to know that some pople objected to overkill
 
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i think it's pretty extreme to turn the world into an uninhabitable radioactive pile of rubble rather than have some countries not under US influence. "Our fear that communism might someday take over most of the world blinds us to the fact that anti-communism already has" -- michael parenti
 

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