F present news reports are any guide, many Americans are concerned about traditional military operations in the Middle East, in Africa, and in other geographic areas where U. S. interests are endangered. However, little attention is paid to possible nuclear confrontations, either regional (North Korea, Iran) or intercontinental (Russia, China). In spite of this, war planners would be wise to know how we would wage nuclear war, if the need ever arise.
Long-range bombers (B1, B2, B52) are the traditional way of delivering nuclear weapons. The number of aircraft available for these assignments has decreased since the mid-sixties, however, due to improvements in ground-to-air missiles by both the United States and from Russia. Still, there are post-attack targets that are acceptable for these airplanes.
Land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (Minuteman III) overcome the limitations of long-rang bombersnonetheless, the locations of missile silos are well-known and targeted.
Submarine-launched missiles (Trident II) overcome the limitations of both bombers and land-based missiles because the submarines operate in a stealth mode, making them elusive, if not impossible targets for an enemy.
Their targets are spelled out in what was once called the Single Integrated Operational Plan, SIOP for short. It became operational on 1 July 1961 and was intended to make certain that capabilities were closely matched to targets and that there was no overlap among components of the Triad. In 2003 the SIOP became part of OpPlan 8044, the overall war plan. Although SIOP is not a current term, most senior officers know exactly what it means.
Procedures for the command and control of nuclear weapons are spelled out in detail, the most important of which is the rule. The two-man rule applies as well as the president of america, who must obtain concurrence from the Secretary of Defense before ordering a nuclear strike.
This EAM will also be transmitted from the Alternate National Military Command Center (ANMCC) and from the National Emergency Airborne Command Post (NEACP). The EAM will specify targets, weapons for use, and Permissive Action Link (PAL) codes to unlock the firing devices on the weapons.
When two senior officers at the NMCC simultaneously turn keys to release an EAM, 100 million people, 50 million on both sides, will perish. But in the United States 250 million will remain and survive, though under desperate conditions. In Russia roughly 90 million will survive. Other effects: infrastructure in shambles, destroyed power grids, nuclear fallout, Wildlife Removal, critical shortages of water, food, and medical supplies. Americans will have to rely on Canada and Mexico for massive aid shipments, although the wall we are currently building along our southern border may be an impediment to a lot of the aid.
The United States and Russia will no longer be first-rate powers. For the entire next generation after a nuclear exchange, the two nations will be in reconstruction mode, just as Hiroshima and Nagasaki have been in the years following World War II. In an atomic war there are no winners, just losers.