ABM: Anti-ballistic missile system.
The ABM missiles were targeted at incoming missiles. Deployment
limited by 1972 ABM Treaty.
B-1(B) bomber: Manned U.S. intercontinental bomber. Program
canceled by Carter Administration but resurrected under Reagan with
redesigned aircraft known as B-1B.
Bay of Pigs: An unsuccessful invasion of Cuba by 1500 Cuban
exiles with U.S. Government support on April 17, 1961.
Berlin Airlift: The supply of vital necessities to West Berlin
by U.S. aircraft from June 1948 through September 1949. The Soviets had
hoped to force Allied abandonment of the city by establishing a water
and land blockade, but the constant flow of American planes, totalling
277,000 flights with more than 2 million tons of supplies, kept West
Berlin Wall: The fortified barrier erected by the East German
government in August 1961 to divide East and West Berlin and halt the
exodus of East Germans fleeing Communist rule.
BOMARC: Boeing Michigan Aeronautical Research Center; also
surface-to-air anti-aircraft missile designed at BOMARC.
Bomber gap: The fear of Soviet superiority in the area of
intercontinental bombers, which first arose in July 1957 after Soviets
flew their Bear and Bison bombers past American observers multiple
times, duping them into exaggerating Soviet capability.
Brussels Pact: Signatories of the Brussels Treaty, a 50-year
treaty of economic, social, cultural, and defensive collaboration
between Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and the United
Kingdom, signed March 17, 1948.
Carter Doctrine: President Carter's commitment to defend U.S.
interests in the Persian Gulf, motivated by the Soviet invasion of
Checkpoint Charlie: The American checkpoint and guardhouse at
the border of East and West Berlin.
Containment: U.S. Cold War foreign policy toward the Soviet
Union, first articulated by George Kennan in 1947 with his famous "X"
article in Foreign Affairs. As originally articulated, the
policy called for a vigilant but patient reaction to Soviet
expansionism, emphasizing political and economic tools over military
Cuban Missile Crisis: The major Cold War confrontation between
U.S. and Soviet forces over the deployment of Soviet IRBMs in Cuba in
1962. An American naval blockade and high alert status ensued until the
crisis was defused by the removal of the Soviet missiles and an American
pledge to dismantle IRBMs in Turkey and to never invade Cuba.
Detente: A lessening of tensions between the superpowers,
primarily associated with the 1970's. The term is used loosely to
describe either a situation or a policy.
DEW line: A distant early warning line of radar and
communications equipment deployed along northern Alaska and Canada
designed to detect and track Soviet ballistic missiles.
DMZ: De-Militarized Zone; refers to the unoccupied strip of land
at the 38th parallel that divides North and South Korea.
Executive Order 12356: The current Executive Order setting
protocol for the declassification of government documents.
Flexible response: A military strategy adopted by President
Kennedy and Defense Secretary McNamara calling for a graduated
escalation of force in response to aggression, in contrast to the
previous doctrine of massive retaliation.
FFRDC: Federally funded research and development contractor.
FOIA: Freedom of Information Act. Federal legislation codifying
the responsibility and protocol of Federal agencies for the provision of
public access to government records.
HABS/HAER: Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American
Hawk Missile: "Homing all the way Killer," American
surface-launched anti-aircraft missile.
ICBM: Intercontinental ballistic missile.
ICOMOS: International Council on Monuments and Sites.
INF: intermediate range nuclear forces. The 1987 INF Treaty, a
landmark arms control agreement, provided for the removal and
destruction of all INF weapons in Europe.
IRBM: intermediate range ballistic missile.
Iron Curtain: Term first used by Winston Churchill to describe
the political barrier which had been erected between the East and West
and the creation of spheres of influence.
Jupiter Missile: An early American IRBM. A squadron was removed
quid pro quo to de-escalate the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Man in Space: National Historic Landmark theme study to document
and preserve relics and resources of the NASA space program.
Massive retaliation: Eisenhower's military doctrine of
threatening a full nuclear retaliatory response to any perceived
aggression against U.S. interests; later replaced by flexible response
because of its lack of credibility.
McCarthyism: The practices of Senator Joseph McCarthy to
discredit American citizens through sensational and unsubstantiated
accusations of Communist complicity.
Military-industrial complex: A phrase first coined by President
Eisenhower in his 1961 farewell address describing the close linkage
between the U.S. military and private contractors in the military
Minuteman II: American ICBM entered into service in 1966.
Missile gap: The perceived Soviet superiority in ICBMs due to
exaggerated estimates by the Gaither Committee in 1957 and USAF in the
MX missile: The most advanced U.S. ICBM in service, now known as
the "Peacekeeper." It was supported by Carter and first deployed under
Reagan in 1988.
National Security Act of 1947: This reorganization of the U.S.
defense establishment created the office of the Secretary of Defense,
the National Security Council (NSA), the Central Intelligence Agency
(CIA), and the U.S. Air Force (USAF).
NIKE: A U.S. Army project begun in 1945 to develop missiles for
air defense. Several NIKE missiles were developed and deployed,
including theNIKE-Ajax and NIKE-Hercules.
NSC-68: An important U.S. foreign policy document of 1950, which
reappraised America's global position vis-'a-vis Communist China and the
Soviet Union. It called for a full-scale military build-up to confront
Communism, which it saw as a monolithic force bent on world domination.
It stressed the need to confront Communists anywhere in the world at any
cost, as a gain for the Soviets would be regarded as a loss for
Rand Corporation: A government-sponsored "think tank" created in
1946 to study problems of national security.
Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force: Carter authorized the
creation of this force of up to 200,000 troops for response to military
emergencies around the world, primarily in response to the Soviet
invasion of Afghanistan.
SAC: Strategic Air Command; a now defunct component of the USAF
with the mission of delivering Air Force strategic nuclear assets to
SALT I: Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty; signed in 1972, it
froze numbers of ICBMs and SLBMs in place for 5 years and restricted the
deployment of ABMs.
SDI: Strategic Defense Initiative; an ABM research program
dedicated to finding technology to destroy incoming ICBMs. It was begun
in 1983, after Reagan's "Star Wars" speech in which he called on the
nation's scientific community to "give us the means of rendering these
nuclear weapons impotent and obsolete . . ."
Sentinel: A proposed ABM system designed to defend cities
against ballistic missile attack.
SOFA: Status of Forces Agreement; SOFAs, which establish legal
rights and protocols, are negotiated between the United States and each
country in which American forces are deployed.
Space race: The superpower competition in space exploration
technology that paralleled the Cold War competition in arms
START: Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.
Titan II Missile: An early U.S. ICBM, now decommissioned.
Trinity Site: Site of the first U.S. atomic bomb test, now
listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Truman Doctrine: Truman pledged in 1947 to defend "free people
who are resisting armed subjugation by armed minorities or outside
pressures." The policy was aimed at providing economic and military
support to those European countries which were fighting Communist
takeover at the time, especially Greece and Turkey.
Warsaw Pact: Signed in 1955, it codified the East-West split and
provided for mutual defense among Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia,
East Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and the Soviet Union.
Glossary of Acronyms
Atomic Energy Commission
Air Force Base
Air-launched cruise missile
Australia, New Zealand, and United States Pact
Ballistic missile early warning system
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
Central Treaty Organization
Central Intelligence Agency
Center of Military History
Defense Environmental Restoration Program
Defense early warning system
Department of Defense
Department of Energy
Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Environmental Security
European Economic Community
Federally fundedresearch and development
Freedom of Information Act
Federal Records Act
Ground-launched cruise missile
Historic American Buildings Survey
Historic American Engineering Record
Intercontinental ballistic missile
International Council on Monuments and Sites
Intermediate-range nuclear force
Intermediate ballistic missile
Joint Chiefs of Staff
Military Assistance Advisory Group
Military Assistance Programs
National Archives and Records Administration
Naval Arctic Research Laboratory
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
National Historic Preservation Act
National Liberation Front of South Vietnam
National Park Service
Nuclear Regulatory Commission
National Security Agency
National Security Council
Nuclear and Space Talks
Office of the Chief of Naval Operations
Office of the Secretary of Defense
Presidential Review Directive
Strategic Air Command
Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty
Strategic Defense Initiative, Star Wars
Southeast Asia Treaty Organization
State Historic Preservation Officer
Submarine-launched ballistic missiles
Status of Forces Agreement
Nuclear-powered fleet ballistic missile submarine
Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty
United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization
United States Army Construction and Engineering Research
United States Air Force
United States Air Force Museum Program
United States Information Agency
United States Marine Corps