Wednesday, September 13, 1961: SIOP-62

President Kennedy is briefed by the U.S. military on how a nuclear war might be carried out.

From "JFK's First-Strike Plan" (The Atlantic magazine, October 2001): "U.S. military policy at the time called for 'massive retaliation' in the event of general war -- shooting off all our nuclear weapons against every target in the Soviet Union, China and parts of Eastern Europe, no matter how limited the cause of the war might be. This single integrated operational plan -- or SIOP, as the military called it -- was so tightly woven into the logistics and training of the U.S. Strategic Air Command that it would be impossible to launch a smaller-scale nuclear attack even if the President wanted to. The problem with this SIOP, in the view of many defense analysts, was that if the United States unleashed the full attack against the USSR, the Soviets would initiate a retaliatory strike once they saw the attack coming, ultimately killing tens of millions of Americans. ... SIOP-62, as the plan was known, called for sending in the full arsenal of the Strategic Air Command, -- 2,258 missiles and bombers carrying a total of 3,423 nuclear weapons -- against 1,077 'military and urban-industrial targets' throughout the 'Sino-Soviet Bloc.' "

Kennedy was not satisifed with the plan, preferring more options than just all-out war. That would be reflected in SIOP-63.

* "New Evidence on the Origins of Overkill" (from National Security Archive): @
* "The Creation of SIOP-62: More Evidence on the Origins of Overkill (from National Security Archive): @
* "History of the Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff: Preparation of SIOP-62" (from National Security Archive): @
* "History of the Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff: Preparation of SIOP-63" (from National Security Archive): @
* Excerpt from "President Kennedy: Profile of Power" (book by Richard Reeves): @
* "JFK's First-Strike Option" (The Atlantic magazine, October 2001): @
* "Constraining Overkill: Contending Approaches to Nuclear Strategy, 1955-1965" (from Naval Historical Center): @
* "Strategic Air Planning and Berlin" (memo to Gen. Maxwell Taylor): @
* "Doomsday Delayed: USAF Strategic Weapons Doctrine and SIOP-62" (book by John H. Rubel): @

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