Catalytic Diplomacy

Note to Truncate the Sword



In March, I came across a glossary of terms prepared by arms race analysts William M. Arkin and Hans Kristensen. Putting this together with some other information, it became clear that the disarming attack option was called Major Attack Option 1 (MAO 1) and that it was planning to maintain 680 warheads on hard (i.e., high) alert, including four Trident submarines on fifteen-minute alert at all times. This was enough warheads to attack, with approximately two warheads each, the 200 Russian missile silos, a few bomber bases, a few submarine bases, and another 100 or so key targets expected at that time.

But other forces were required to be withheld for other purposes: warhead storage sites, dispersal and secondary airfields, hardened underground command posts, and a reserve to deter China and to hold Russian cities hostage against the threat of their attacking our cities. So it seemed that 1,000 might be low enough to change the strategy. Certainly, Stratcom thought it was too low.



Continue reading chapter