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Fw: New Evidence on the Origins of Overkill

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  • Albert LaFrance
    ... From: National Security Archive To: Sent: Wednesday, November 21, 2007 11:51 PM Subject: New Evidence on the
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 21, 2007
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      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "National Security Archive" <archive@...>
      To: <NSARCHIVE@...>
      Sent: Wednesday, November 21, 2007 11:51 PM
      Subject: New Evidence on the Origins of Overkill

      > National Security Archive Update, November 22, 2007
      > First Substantive Release of Early SIOP Histories
      > For more information contact:
      > William Burr - 202/994-7000
      > http://www.nsarchive.org
      > Washington D.C., November 22, 2007 - The first comprehensive U.S. nuclear war plan, produced in
      1960, was controversial within the U.S. government because top commanders and White House scientists
      objected to its massive destructiveness--the "high level of damage and population
      casualties"--according to newly declassified histories published today by the National Security
      Archive. The war plan also appalled Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, who wanted to find ways to
      curb its overkill, but the first nuclear plan revised on his watch remained massively destructive.
      > The nuclear war plan, the Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP), has been among the U.S.
      government's most sensitive secrets. No SIOP has ever been declassified, and details about the
      making of U.S. nuclear war plans have been hard to pry loose.
      > Declassified histories from the early 1960s of SIOP-62 (for fiscal year) and SIOP-63 provide an
      acute sense of the way that the U.S. government planned to wage nuclear war, as well as how the
      plans were made and the inter-service conflicts over them. Among the disclosures:
      > * The availability of options for preemptive or retaliatory strikes against Soviet and Chinese
      > * Goals of high levels of damage ("damage expectancy") were intrinsic to the plan, which explains
      why historians have treated "overkill", or excessive destruction, as one of its most distinctive
      > * The internal debate within the military over the war plan, especially Army and Navy concern
      about excessive destruction and radiation hazards to U.S. troops and people in allied countries near
      targeted countries.
      > * The high priority of military targets; according to the National Strategic Targeting and Attack
      Policy (NSTAP), one of the SIOP's purposes was "to destroy or neutralize the military capabilities
      of the enemy."
      > * How the JSTPS constructed the five alternative strikes that constituted SIOP-63 (fiscal year
      1963) in order to be responsive to Secretary of Defense McNamara's quest for alternatives to nuclear
      attacks on urban-industrial areas, and limit the destructiveness of nuclear war, by focusing on
      nuclear targets only ("no cities/counterforce").
      > * The role of "strike timing sheets" in the plan, showing how each bomber and missile would reach
      its target without destroying each other ("fratricide").
      > Visit the Web site of the National Security Archive for more information about today's posting.
      > http://www.nsarchive.org
      > ________________________________________________________
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