AUTHORFord, Daniel
TITLEThe Button: The Pentagon’s Strategic Command and Control System
PUBLISHERSimon & Schuster
CITYNew York, NY

This book evaluates the plan of the United States for nuclear action during the Cold War and challenges the perception that the U.S. would strike only in retaliation. Author Daniel Ford presents the U.S. nuclear plan, called the Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP), including potential first strikes. He focuses on retaliatory measures and preparations to deal with an initial strike by the Soviet Union, such as the early warning system, planning for leadership problems in case of the death of the President and other top officials, contingency plans for communication problems, and airborne Looking Glass missions, which carried a general and battle staff. Ford argues that the retaliatory plan was flawed, though acceptable to the military because, in keeping with military tradition, most U.S. military planners found offense to be the only viable option, namely, a U.S. first strike. Ford incorporates his firsthand observations of the Strategic Air Command (SAC) to compile his overview, published during the Cold War.

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