This is the first comprehensive look at the plan (Single Integrated Operating Plan, or S.I.O.P.) the United States has had since 1960 to wage nuclear war on Russia.
How was it put together? Who decides what targets to hit and why? When and where would it be put into action? These Using recently declassified documents and interviews with government officials and military planners, the authors have pieced together an absorbing history of the Pentagon's most secret war plan.
They have unraveled the huge, hidden network of satellites, computers, radar, and microwave links that gathers intelligence on the Soviet Union and would help to execute the S.I.O.P. in time of war. They compare Washington's rhetoric to the cold reality of the actual war plans on the shelves at Strategic Air Command and at Navy headquarters, and the result is a fascinating study of military realities and political deception.
Finally, they expose a new facet of the arms race in President Reagan's nuclear proposalsthe outlay of billions of dollars for new communications systems and underground bunkers so that the United States can fight an extended nuclear war. These proposals, the authors contend, will dangerously erode the traditional civilian control over the firing of nuclear weapons.