Academic journal article Military Review

The Doomsday Scenario

Academic journal article Military Review

The Doomsday Scenario

Article excerpt

THE DOOMSDAY SCENARIO, L. Douglas Keeney and Stephen Schwartz, MBI Publishing Company, St. Paul, MN, 2002, 126 pages, $19.95.

In Doomsday Scenario, L. Douglas Keeney and Stephen Schwartz present two of the three sections from the U.S. Emergency Plans Book (EPB) that until 1998 remained classified. The EPB, prepared in 1958 for senior military and civilian leaders, outlines how the United States would ensure continuity of government after a nuclear attack by the Soviet Union. Keeney and Schwartz discuss the EPB s current relevance and application in light of the events of 11 September 2001.

The 1958 version of the EPB, which provided guidance for defense mobilization planning in the event of a direct attack on the United States, contained three sections: "Capability Assumptions," "Weapons Effects," and "Situation Assumptions." The second section remains classified, but the format and wording of the EBP is unchanged.

The EPB contains a scenario of a Soviet strategic forces nuclear attack to illustrate the expected damage to the United States. In "Capability Assumptions," Keeney and Schwartz outline the impact, expected levels of damage on critical infrastructure, and casualty predictions. The EPB states that the Soviets will use atomic weapons anywhere in the United States and deliver them by aircraft, submarine, mines, or clandestine means. Unfortunately, Keeney and Swartz incorrectly distinguish between atomic and nuclear bombs, stating that an atomic bomb is smaller in yield than a nuclear bomb and that an atomic bomb is a fission-only bomb while a nuclear bomb is a fusion bomb. The words atomic and nuclear are synonymous, and if one desires to talk about nuclear weapons that incorporate fusion for increased yield, the correct term should be thermonuclear weapon.

A second item worth noting is that the EPB assumes that a strike will be a counterforce strike rather than a countervalue strike. In a review of historical bombing campaigns and a comparison of the 11 September 2002 terrorist attacks, Keeney reinforces this targeting method and its underlying assumptions. …

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