Jeffrey LewisMore Classified Nuclear NSPDs

Reinvigorating the Air Force Nuclear Enterprise by the Air Force Nuclear Task Force (24 October 2008) reveals the names of several more NSPDs relating to nuclear weapons:

National Security Presidential Directive-3, Defense Strategy, Force Structure, and Procurement, 15 February 2001 (S)

National Security Presidential Directive-4, Transforming Deterrence, 15 February 2001 (S)

National Security Presidential Directive-10, U.S. Strategic Nuclear Force, 21 December 2001 (S)

National Security Presidential Directive-28, United States Nuclear Weapons Command and Control, Safety, and Security, 20 June 2003 (S)

National Security Presidential Directive-35, Nuclear Weapons Deployment Authorization, 6 May 2004 (S//FRD)

We already know about NSPD-10, -28 and -35.

The version in Google Cache has details that the PDF version does not, such as the full titles of NSPD-3 and -4.

Presumably, some techno-illiterate thought he was doing national security a favor. Will you have trouble sleeping at night because Osama bin Laden now knows the title of NSPD-3 is Defense Strategy, Force Structure, and Procurement?

It is shame that the documents are classified, because if you were suffering from insomnia, my guess is that reading either would do the trick.


  1. FSB

    It’s too bad that no military (or DoE) document says why we need nuclear weapons in the first place but concentrate on reinvigorating antiquated complexes with outmoded rationales.

    What are we deterring and why do we need 1000’s of weapons with 100-1200kT TNT?

    No, I couldn’t hear you DoD/DoE. Come again…

    Ivan Olerich of FAS has said it best:

    The basic nature of deterrence is that you might try to seize something of value from me and I must be able to plausibly threaten to impose costs on you that are great enough to make the prize not worth the fight. If I have a million dollars on my desk and I threaten to rap you on the knuckles with a ruler if you take it, you might not be deterred; if I have an apple on my desk the same threat might be effective. The threat needs to be proportional to the prize being seized. During the Cold War, two ideologically driven superpowers each felt it was in a struggle for future of the whole world. If the prize one side is trying to seize is the future of the world, that is, the prize is everything, then one must threaten near total pain to make seizing that prize not worthwhile. The most basic difference between the Cold War and the world of today is not the lower levels of tension between the US and Russia (or the Soviet Union) but the much lower stakes involved. When we talk about US nuclear deterrent forces, we have to address what prize might some nation try to seize, even in theory, that is going to take a retaliation of more than five thousand warheads to make it seem like a bad deal.

  2. kerbihan

    Sure, nobody needs 5.000 warheads today. But Ivan Oelrich has it wrong: the US has no plans to use 5.000 in the same strike plan. I’m sure he knows very well (or at least he should) that the number of weapons in the US arsenal is not primarily determined by the most demanding strike option.

    By the way, FSB, I thought that the DoD/DoE September 2008 policy document explained that fairly well and with real arguments. If you want to have a debate on US nuclear policy on this blog, by all means let us have it, but let us hear your counter-arguments and not only pure rhetoric.

  3. Lao Tao Ren (History)

    Talking about the air force…

    Did you see the piece about the missing H-Bomb?

    November 11, 2008, 3:07 pm
    Has Anyone Seen a Stray H-Bomb?

    By Carla Baranauckas

    A hydrogen bomb is missing from the United States’ arsenal — and has been, evidently, for 40 years.

    When last seen, the bomb was one of four aboard an Air Force B-52 bomber that crashed on a frozen bay near Thule Air Force Base in northern Greenland on Jan. 21, 1968. At first, all four bombs were unaccounted for, according to a front-page article in The New York Times on Jan. 23, 1968

    What a easter egg hunt that would make!

  4. Joshua Simeon Narins (History)

    Reinvigorate the nuclear weapons biz?

    Did someone over the rank of Major author this?

  5. FSB

    Joshua, good point!

    Indeed, the title is “Reinvigorating the Air Force Nuclear Enterprise


    That’s exactly what it is — a nice enterprise to transfer wealth from taxpayers to defense contractors, while simultaneously degrading US and global security.

    When do we get the USG document entitled “The Point of Our Unnecessarily Huge-ass Nuclear Weapons Stockpile” ?

    I hear the US Institute of Peace is doing a congressionally-mandated study of this due out in March 2009.

    Anyone have any juicy leaks of that study?