Nuclear War Plan : the nuclear option in Global Strike

Full Operational Capability by September 2006

In-depth Report:

Global Strike Chronology

At the end of September 2006, the Joint Functional Component Command for Space and Global Strike is scheduled to achieve Full Operational Capability (FOC).  That event builds on Global Strike capabilities developed over many years to provide new offensive strike options to the President against proliferators of weapons of mass destruction.

This chronology lists the most important of the developments that led to the creation of the Pentagon’s newest and most offensive strike plan. Although Global Strike is primarily a non-nuclear mission, the information collected for this chronology reveal that nuclear weapons are surprisingly prominent in both the planning and command structure for Global Strike.

The roots of the nuclear option in Global Strike go back more than a decade to the early 1990s, where military planners and policy makers gradually began to broaden the scope of U.S. nuclear strategy to incorporate missions against proliferators armed with weapons of mass destruction. Yet the nuclear counterproliferation mission was controversial because it appeared to broaden rather than reduce the role of nuclear weapons. The attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon in September 2001 removed those constraints and led to the formulation of new guidance that has spawned a highly offensive Global Strike mission with prompt or even preemptive strike planning against imminent threats anywhere on (and under) the face of the Earth.

The operational embodiment of the Global Strike mission is CONPLAN 8022, the detailed strike plan directed against proliferation targets in North Korea, Iran, and elsewhere. First operational in 2004, refinement of CONPLAN 8022 continues.

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