Controlled Response

  • Philip Bobbitt


US nuclear strategy in the 1950s culminated in the first Single Integrated Operations Plan (SIOP),1 promulgated in 1960. Massive Retaliation logically required the unification of nuclear targeting among the services, the reconciliation of their missions and the coordination of launches, if necessary, to enable a single spasm. This coordination was the purpose of the SIOP, which replaced the various separate plans generated by the services. Targeting was unified in the Optimum Target Mix (OTM), a single target set composed of high priority military, industrial and political targets. NATO doctrine was similarly brought into line: MC 14/2 called for a nuclear response to any, even local, Soviet intrusion if it continued.2


Nuclear Weapon Control Response Ballistic Missile Cuban Missile Crisis Strategic Bombing 
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Notes and References

  1. 7.
    A. J. Wohlstetter, F. S. Hoffman, R. S. Lutz, and H. S. Rowan, Selection and Use of Strategic Bases, R-266 (Santa Monica: The RAND Corporation, April 1954).Google Scholar
  2. 8.
    Albert Wohlstetter, ‘The Delicate Balance of Terror,’ Foreign Affairs 37 (January 1959), p. 211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 9.
    L. D. Freedman, The Evolution of Nuclear Strategy (London: Macmillan, 1981), pp. 236–7 (summarizing the views of Wohlstetter and RAND analyst Andrew Marshall).Google Scholar
  4. 10.
    H. A. Kissinger, Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy (New York: Marper, 1957).Google Scholar
  5. 13.
    L. D. Freedman, US Intelligence and The Soviet Strategic Threat (London: Macmillan, 1977); see also Cordesman, Deterrence in the 1980s pp. 6–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 14.
    H. Kahn, On Thermonuclear War (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1960), pp. 559–60.Google Scholar
  7. 21.
    Initial work on the SLOP revision was done by Daniel Ellsberg and Frank Trinkle under the supervision of Alain Enthoven; all were former RAND analysts. Ball, Deja Vu, p. 12; before becoming Secretary of Defense, James Schlesinger, himself a RAND analyst, observed, ‘The McNamara Strategy embodied the basic ideas of the Air Force and RAND Corporation in ferment since the mid-fifties,’ i.e., since the Wohlstetter Report. James R. Schlesinger, ‘The Changing Environment for Systems Analysis’, in S. Enke (ed.) Defense Management (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1967), p. 105.Google Scholar
  8. 22.
    W. W. Kaufmann, The McNamara Strategy (New York: Harper & Row, 1964), pp. 44–75.Google Scholar
  9. 23.
    Robert S. McNamara, ‘Defense Arrangements and the North Atlantic Community’, Address given at the University of Michigan, 16 June 1962, Dept of State Bulletin 47 (9 July 1962) pp. 67–8.Google Scholar
  10. 26.
    See, e.g., P. Pringle and W. Arkin, SLOP: Nuclear War from the Inside (London: Sphere, 1983), p. 89.Google Scholar
  11. 28.
    Leonard Beaton, The Western Alliance and the McNamara Doctrine, Adelphi Paper no. 11 (London: The Institute for Strategic Studies, August 1964), p. 6.Google Scholar
  12. 31.
    David N. Schwartz, NATO’s Nuclear Dilemmas (Washington: Brookings, 1983), p. 80.Google Scholar
  13. 32.
    Alastair Buchan, The Multilateral Force: An Historical Perspective Adelphi Paper no. 13 (London: The Institute for Strategic Studies, October 1964) p. 4. Compare Alastair Buchan, ‘The Coming Crisis on the MLF’, Confidential Memo, 23 June 1964 declassified 1979, National Security File, Box 23, Lyndon B. Johnson Library; see also ‘Early History of the MLF,’ which gives a detailed, chronology of Presidential decisions on MLF in three Administrations declassified 1977, National Security File, Box 23, Lyndon B. Johnson Library.Google Scholar
  14. 34.
    George Ball, Speech to NATO Parliamentarian’s Conference in Paris, 16 November 1962; for further confirmation of the argument that Controlled Response implied the MLF, see Cable 03840, Circular 927, 16 November 1962. Dept. of State, National Security File, Box 218, J. F. Kennedy Library (directing background to the Ball address, ‘Speech was essentially a reaffirmation of… McNamara Ann Arbor’); for discussion of Ball role, see G. Ball, The Past Has Another Pattern: Memoirs (New York: Norton, 1982), p. 274.Google Scholar
  15. 42.
    T. C. Schelling, The Strategy of Conflict (New York: Oxford University Press, 1960), p. 207.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Philip Bobbitt 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philip Bobbitt
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.University of TexasUSA
  2. 2.OxfordUK

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