If current information reports are any guide, most Americans are concerned about conventional military operations in the Middle East, in Africa, and in other geographic regions where U. S. interests are threatened. Regardless of this, war planners would be wise to understand how we would wage nuclear war, should 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 diminished since the mid-sixties, though, due to improvements in ground-to-air missiles by both the United States and from Russia. Nonetheless, 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 since 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 meant 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 a part of OpPlan 8044, the overall war plan. In 2012 it became OpPlan 8010-12, Strategic Deterrence and Force Employment. Although SIOP is technically not a current term, most senior officers know exactly what it means.
Procedures for the control and control of nuclear weapons have been spelled out in detail, the main of which is the rule. The two-man rule applies also to the president of the United States, who must obtain concurrence from the Secretary of Defense prior to ordering a nuclear strike.
If the authorization for a nuclear strike is legitimate, the NMCC will issue an Emergency Action Message (EAM) to all nuclear-capable commands. This EAM will also be transmitted from the Alternate National Military Command Center (ANMCC) and by the National Emergency Airborne Command Post (NEACP). The EAM will define targets, weapons to be used, and Permissive Action Link (PAL) codes to unlock the shooting devices on the weapons.
When two senior officers at the NMCC concurrently turn keys to launch an EAM, 100 million people, 50 million on each side, will perish. But in the United States 250 million will remain and survive, though under desperate conditions. In Russia approximately 90 million will endure. Other consequences: infrastructure in shambles, destroyed power grids, nuclear fallout, critical shortages of water, food, and medical supplies. Americans will have to rely on Canada and Mexico for massive aid shipments, though the wall we’re now building along our southern border might be an impediment to much of this aid.
America and Russia will no longer be first-rate powers. For the entire next generation following a nuclear exchange, both nations will be in reconstruction mode, just as Hiroshima and Nagasaki were in the years following World War II. In an atomic war there are no winners, only losers. Visit this page for more information.