Assured Destruction, Building The Ballistic Missile Culture Of The US Air Force

Mutually Assured Destruction, MAD, was a strategic concept that managed to keep the World from nuclear war. The author has produced a very readable account of this new form of international relations in a well researched and balanced account that places the strategy, technology and international events in relationship – Very Highly Recommended.

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NAME:   Assured Destruction, Building The Ballistic Missile Culture Of The US 
Air Force
FILE: R3202
AUTHOR: David W Bath
PUBLISHER: Naval Institute Press
BINDING: hard back
PRICE: US$ 39.95                                                               
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT:   Cold War, MAD, Mutually Assured Destruction, missiles, ballistic 
missiles, nuclear warhead, multiple nuclear warheads, silo launched missiles, 
intercontinental ballistic missiles, ICBM, Cuban Missile Crisis, nuclear tests, 
hydrogen bomb

ISBN: 978-1-68247-493-6

PAGES: 238
IMAGE: B3202.jpg
BUYNOW: tinyurl.com/y3v2kpwv
LINKS:
DESCRIPTION: Mutually Assured Destruction, MAD, was a strategic concept that 
managed to keep the World from nuclear war. The author has produced a very 
readable account of this new form of international relations in a well researched 
and balanced account that places the strategy, technology and international 
events in relationship – Very Highly Recommended.


The history of the World has been littered with ‘ultimate’ weapons that usually have a lower affect than is forecast for them. In the Middle Ages, a Pope issued a Papal Bull banning the ultimate terror weapon of his age, the pocket crossbow. Those calling for a nuclear weapons ban in the 20th Century used almost identical language.

Once a weapon has been created it can never be effectively banned, leaving us with the challenge of how we respond to it and learn to control it. From the moment that the first nuclear weapons were constructed, it was inevitable that they would be used. The plutonium bomb needed a practical test and all those present were deeply affected by witnessing the first nuclear explosion. The use of two weapons on Japan demonstrated convincingly the terrible power unleashed. As long as the weapons were deployed from aircraft, there was always the possibility further nuclear bombing could take place and the inevitability that the US would only briefly be the single nation owning such devices. In few years, the number of nuclear nations increased. Proliferation increased the risk of nuclear war but, once invented, the ‘bomb’ could not be uninvented.

The moment that nuclear warheads were fitted to viable ballistic weapons, a completely fresh set of conditions applied because ballistic weapons were impossible to destroy then and are still extremely difficult to intercept reliably now. The speed of these missiles means that the warning time for an attack is very brief. That made it inevitable that hardened missile silos would be built to ensure that at least some missiles could be launched in retaliation, and work continued to provide ever earlier warning to increase the number of retaliation missiles that would survive to strike their targets. That made the concept of Mutually Assured Destruction the only logical approach to a potential nuclear equipped enemy and meant that the Cold War would be waged through surrogates with conventional weapons.

The US and Britain gave their Air Forces the task of manning the nuclear deterrent. That was logical because initially the only means of delivery in intercontinental war was by aircraft. Once given the mission, the USAF and RAF naturally hung on to the role after the introduction of ICBMs and that did not change until the USN and the RN took over the role with submarine launched ICBMs. Inter-service rivalry aside, the principle of Mutually Assured Destruction has continued, even though the greater threat has long been posed by nuclear mines dropped in major river estuaries. The rise of terrorism around the world, and the reducing size of weapons, means that a small leisure or cargo ship could quietly push a nuclear mine over the side without anyone noticing until it detonated.

The author has done a commendable job of recounting the way in which Assured Destruction has saved the World from nuclear war and ensured that much of the World has escaped conventional war. Of particular note is the contribution made by missileers who have provided their personal stories. There will of course be those who claim that the missileers would have refused to fire in retaliation and others who claim that nuclear weapons have keep us on the verge of nuclear war, just waiting for a mad man or a human mistake to take us into ultimate destruction. We will never know for sure but the important fact is that the nuclear nations believed in MAD and the mutual agreement that nuclear war would leave no winners. It has proved effective in neutralizing a weapon that once created could never be uncreated.

The Chinese Wuhan-19 pandemic has reminded us of history repeating itself. The release of two strains of an engineered pathogen and the following lies and deceptions by the Chinese Government that turned a concerning situation into a worldwide pandemic that will have cost many thousands of lives, has demonstrated two factors for the benefit of those who do not remember the Cold War’s nuclear threat.

The wearing of masks repeats the humerous ‘Duck and Cover’ propaganda films that offered ineffective advice to keep citizens constrained and thinking that governments were doing something constructive in the event of MAD not working and nuclear missiles raining down on all targets of values. Schoolboy humour of the time dubbed ‘Duck and Cover’ as ‘Head Between Legs & Kiss Your Ass Goodbye’, which was probably more effective advice.

The second factor is the value of deterrent. Western Governments have largely ignored three decades of warnings from intelligence agencies about the serious threats posed by China. In particular there have been warnings about the release of weaponized pathogens, coupled with prepared cyber attacks. What is urgently needed is a bio-cyber MAD to ensure that countries like China are deterred against the temptation to launch this form of attack on the rest of the world.