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Single Integrated Operational Plan: The Movement From Triad To Dyad AUTHOR Major Charles W. Harvey III, USMC CSC 1990 SUBJECT AREA Strategic Issues EXECUTIVE SUMMARY TITLE: SINGLE INTEGRATED OPERATIONAL PLAN: THE MOVEMENT FROM TRIAD TO DYAD THESIS: With a realignment of the Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP), the use of the strategic triad, land, sea, and air-based nuclear weapons must be reevaluated. In light of the developing events and their subsequent effects on global nuclear policy, the United States must move from the concept of a strategic triad to a more responsive and flexible sea and air dyad. BACKGROUND: U.S. nuclear weapons policy has grown with each leg of the triad. The development of the Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP) has been partly a result of political evaluations of world affairs and the improvement of delivery means. In light of fast breaking world events, changes in U.S. targeting policy as well as a reevaluation of strategic delivery means are in order. With some knowledge of the history of the SIOP, one may then determine what those changes should be in relation to the exigencies of our present global situation. Is the triad a viable concept for the 1990's and beyond? RECOMMENDATIONS: As U.S. policy has evolved from one of counterforce strategy to a prevailing strategy, changes need to be made to support the current SIOP. The emergence of defense reductions must cause a reevaluation of weapon system employment. A cost effective means of maintaining our strategic posture is best accomplished by moving from an air-sea-land based triad to an air-sea dyad. The current technology can support this shift in strategic posture with the development and procurement of a greater sea-based capability. CONCLUSIONS: In a fast changing world, policy and strategy must also change. However, change should not presage a loss of capability or credibility. The move from a triad to a dyad concept would maintain both our security and political credibility into the year 2000 and beyond. SINGLE INTEGRATED OPERATIONAL PLAN: THE MOVEMENT FROM TRIAD TO DYAD OUTLINE THESIS STATEMENT. With a realignment of the Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP), the use of the strategic triad, land, sea, and air-based nuclear weapons must be reevaluated. In light of the developing events and their subsequent effects on global nuclear policy, the United States must move from the concept of a strategic triad to a more responsive and flexible sea and air dyad. I. SINGLE INTEGRATED OPERATIONAL PLAN (SIOP) A. Overview of current strategy B. Development of the SIOP C. Targeting shifts 1960-Present II. MISSION DEVELOPMENT A. Concept of strategic triad under President Reagan B. Current weapon support C. Phasing out the triad III. CAPABILITIES OF THE DYAD A. Prevailing strategy B. Survivability C. Responsiveness D. Flexibility E. Cost effectiveness IV. DYAD CONCEPT A. Strategic advantages B. Countering Soviet policy C. Import of political realities SINGLE INTEGRATED OPERATIONAL PLAN: THE MOVEMENT FROM TRIAD TO DYAD. The recent changes in Eastern Europe as well as communist oriented regimes have been dramatic during the last year. Current nuclear weapons employment strategy likewise is evolving. The only question is will the final outcome of this overhaul provide for an effective implementation and blend between the plan and the weapons used to execute the plan. Both political pressure at home and demands for a peace dividend will have a tremendous bearing on the shape of our nuclear forces as we approach the end of the decade. With a realignment of the Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP), the use of the strategic triad, land, sea, and air-based nuclear weapons must be reevaluated. In light of the developing events and their subsequent effects on global nuclear policy, the United States must move from the concept of a strategic triad to a more responsive and flexible sea and air dyad. The Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP) as we know it was developed in 1960. "In the summer of 1961 a revision of the SIOP was completed by Daniel Ellsberg and two other Rand Corporation Strategists".1 However, the conceptualization for the strategy and employment of our nuclear arsenal began in 1945 at the close of World War II. Although the nuclear arsenal was exceedingly small, with only two available weapons deliverable by air, the Strategic Air Command recognized the need for the development of not only a strategy for use, but more importantly, a plan for delivery on targets that supported that strategy. "The strategic bombing experience of the Second World War encouraged western experts to believe that air power could be used most effectively to attack a conventionally armed opponent's war supporting industrial base".2 This program was shepherded by the Air Force's own General Curtis E. Lemay. The role that the Strategic Air Command and General Lemay played in the early development of the plan cannot be underestimated. "As Lemay put it, in one fell swoop, telescoping mass and time against the Soviet Union" the U.S. would carry out its nuclear policy.3 Thus, U.S. strategic nuclear policy began in its intent to target large urban and industrial complexes rather than other nuclear weapons and their delivery means. Air power was the first leg of the triad. During this early period, the absence of a credible nuclear threat from the Soviet Union caused the examination of the targeting process. It was decided that targets should be divided in three categories. "According to Henry Rowen, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs and one time President of the Rand Corporation, "The designated ground zeroes were almost entirely (1) industrial facilities; (2) retardation targets (such as roads); and (3) counterforce targets which were the small concentrated Soviet air forces."4 This approach to targeting continued into the mid-fifties, with about 5,000 to 6,000 targets being identified and programmed for destruction using Strategic Air Command Assets. However, this proliferation of targets was enabled by the development of the second leg of the triad, the intercontinental ballistic missle (ICBM). During these early years, General Lemay took the lead in recommending plans for general employment of the Strategic Air Command. Guidance for the formulation of these plans was supposedly derived from the Joint Strategic Capabilities Plan (JSCAP). It is interesting to note that the embryonic SIOP was to be submitted to and approved by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. "But General Lemay became so independent that from 1951 until 1955 the JCS never received a copy of the plans".5 It could be said that during this period, the employment and targeting of the first two legs of the triad were so tightly controlled by SAC as to be almost without strategic direction. This seeming lack of direction in strategic plans and policies continued late into the 1950's. Without a formal SIOP, presidential interest remained low. The introduction of ICBM's had naturally changed the targeting picture. A counterforce policy was, therefore, the dominant one as the nuclear age entered 1960. The U.S. Navy now entered the targeting picture with the anticipated arrival of the first Polaris submarine, carrying submarine launced ballistic missles (SLBMs), in 1959. Rancor developed between the Air Force and the Navy regarding who would now provide targeting priorities reflecting current national strategy. "A study completed in late 1959 resolved these issues. A Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff (JSTPS) was formed to facilitate interservice cooperation, draw up a National Strategic Target List (NSTL) and prepare a Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP) for the conduct of nuclear war".6 Thus, the first SIOP encompassing all three legs of the triad came into being in 1960. As noted earlier, it was revised in 1962 as SIOP-62. During this period the Soviets continued to modernize their weapons delivery systems. Such developments would create increasing scrutiny of the targeting process and thereby affect strategic doctrine.7 "SIOP-62 contained the following counterforce targeting provisions: * Soviet strategic retaliation forces * Bomber bases and submarine tenders * Soviet air defenses away from cities which would cover U.S. bomber routes * Soviet air defenses to protect cities * Soviet command and control centers and systems".8 This priority of targeting was to remain intact, with slight modifications in the form of SIOP-63 completed in 1963, until 1974. Both plans were supported by a continued buildup of land-based ICBMs and Polaris missle launching submarines, and air deliverable nuclear weapons carried by the strategic bomber force. This period of strategic development, while characterized by counterforce priorities, was not a first strike driven strategy. Improvements were made both in weapon design and guidance systems to insure accuracy. However, the continued buildup of Soviet strategic forces presented a growing number of military targets that would have to be destroyed before they could launch weapons in the event of a nuclear exchange.9 Soviet improvements, particularly in the development and employment of SLBMs, towards the end of the period, gave rise to increased Soviet capability to deliver a second strike. The concept of counterforce parity, leading to a strategy of Mutual Assured Destruction, as initiated by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara in SIOP-62, slowly moved into a "second-strike counterforce"10 strategy amplified in SIOP-63. During the late 1960's and early 1970's, as these developments continued, the targets outlined by the SIOP presented fewer and fewer options to the strategy makers. Target damage, ability to survive an initial strike or second strike drove the Nixon administration in 1974 to reexamine the SIOP in regards to its employment as an instrument of policy. The policy of Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) was quickly being eclipsed by new weapon technology. In 1974, then Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger, in an attempt to push the stalled strategic arms limitation talks forward, announced "We have no announced counterforce strategy, if by counterforce one infers that one is going to attempt to destroy silos. We have a new targeting doctrine that emphasizes selectivity and flexibility".11 At this point, while still within the bounds of counterforce, U.S. policy through the SIOP and triad would reflect a deterrent nature. Deterrence changed the targeting priorities through the introduction of limited target packages that would rely on low damage, thereby causing the conflict to terminate or incrementally escalate. This shift in policy relied less upon the introduction of strategic nuclear assets from the triad, and, therefore, increased the growth and development of tactical nuclear weapons. New guidance for targeting was issued in 1976 in SIOP-5. Principle target groups in priority were "1. Soviet nuclear forces; 2. conventional military forces; 3. military and political leadership; and 4. economic and industrial targets. "12 With the arrival of Jimmy Carter in 1977, this policy became known as a "Countervailing" policy. It was a modification and redefinition of deterrence. There were two main ingredients to this strategy. First, that the U.S. might choose to use its strategic forces in less than an all out strike, thereby exacting a high cost on such targets as Soviet political and military centers, as well as industrial complexes. Such a strategy would not only deter Soviet first use of nuclear weapons, but in the event such weapons were used, ensure U.S. ability to take advantage of follow on strikes. However, while on the surface the countervailing policy applies the principles of counterforce and deterrent strategy, the introduction in 1980 of Presidential Directive 59 (PD-59) into the targeting process indicates a break from those strategies. "This directive was preceded by an 18 month study ordered by the White House that sought to: * Determine the nuclear strategy that would eliminate the USSR as a functioning national entity * Investigate promoting separatism by destroying areas in the USSR which support the present Soviet government * Identify targets which would paralyze, disrupt and dismember the Soviet government by annihilating the ruling group".13 President Carter pushed the targeting strategy of the U.S. into the 1980's on a fine line between a "countervailing strategy" and a "prevailing strategy". Early in the 1980's President Reagan developed the prevailing strategy. At its core was the U.S. ability to survive and win a nuclear war with the Soviet Union. Planners at all levels began to develop what was called a "second-strike counterforce capability".14 The current employment of strategic nuclear forces remains in accordance with the targeting priorities set forth in SIOP-5. This is supported by a triad consisting of strategic bomber forces, Trident submarines armed with the D-5 (SLBM), and the land-based ICBMs in two variants. Today nuclear war planning remains unchanged. According to General John Chain, Commander of SAC, testifying before the House Armed Services Committee: "It is important to remember that we have to build the SIOP on conditions that exist, not what might happen" .15 The feeling today is that even though mobile land-based missles (ICBMs) are more survivable, the MX and midget-man are not required in order to maintain deterrence and implement the SIOP. In order to carry out current policy, it follows then that land-based missles could be phased out of the SIOP based strategy. How can this occur? As we have seen with the development of the SIOP, weapons technology has, in part, driven strategy. The increasing public discomfort with mobile (either track or truck mounted) ICBMs that are land area intensive has sparked much debate and controversy. Secretary Cheney, while toning down prevailing strategy rhetoric, has pointed to other alternatives that would accomplish nuclear strategy objectives while moving the nation's strategic forces into the year 2000. As previously stated, the efficacy of land-based systems within the triad have come under increasing scrutiny. In line with a "prevailing" strategy would be the greater deployment of sea-based missile systems, most notably the D-5. This Trident missile will soon become operational. "Trident system improvements make significant and substantial changes to the nuclear options available to the President".16 The advantages of sea-basing are numerous. Weapon systems are more survivable than land-based systems. Public clamor regarding government use of vast tracts of land is negated. Most importantly, sea-basing better supports the SIOP in both its ability to deter and strike if required. Another alternative to the D-5 is the sea-basing of the MX missile. Current techniques exist for sea launch using the "Hydra Method (vertical floating, underwater ignition; liftoff from the sea with the water medium acting as an indestructible gantry and launching pad)".17 This method has been extensively tested and would allow for the sea-basing of current land-based missiles. Support and integration between the SIOP and weapon systems could be accomplished using a combination of sea-based and air-based attack systems. Another favorable dividend of the system would be its increased responsiveness. Because of the appearance of new C3I technologies, operated in concert with the SIOP, attack options could be increased, allowing the National Command Authority (NCA) increased range delivery and rapid response in a variety of situations. Flexibility of response that must be inherent in the SIOP would be improved as well. With an increased number of sea-based platforms, target options could be varied and deployed quickly to the area of most concern. Land-based platforms have increasingly limited flexibility, in that Soviet counterforce policy requires their destruction first. Escalation responses must then be carried out from inside U.S. territory, thereby putting our own civilian population at risk, as well as presenting "windows of vulnerability" in our defense systems. Flexibility would also be increased in allowing for non-nuclear response. The value of sea-based platforms in future arms negotiations must also be investigated. "The Trident could provide a secure launch system for strategic defense initiative purposes, reconstitutable satellites for surveillance and command and control, or provide a platform for conventional ballistic or cruise missiles".18 The strategic advantages of a dyad would also prove cost effective. The recent clamor for a "peace dividend" cannot be overlooked in future strategic development. The modernization of our strategic bomber forces cannot be accomplished concurrently with the fielding of new land-based systems. The availability of current and developing technologies, already in existence in our sea and land-based forces, should be taken advantage of while remaining within the framework of the SIOP. Moving away from land-based ICBMs would counter the Soviet's ability for strategic deterrence. "Currently the Soviet Union has based this deterrent largely on fixed, land-basd missile sites".19 Naturally, a move on the part of the U.S. would increase our already existing advantage in air and sea systems. Such a shift would support ongoing changes within the Soviet Bloc and in all probability result in a Soviet scale down of strategic nuclear forces inside Eastern Europe. "An old military axiom is that you can do almost anything with bayonets except sit on them. Our goal should be to devise a system of bayonets we can sit on, for a long time, while keeping the points sharp".20 Political developments both at home and abroad have forced changes in the development of the SIOP since 1960. Technological improvements have also impacted on our strategy. We are at the crossroads as we enter the 1990's. Given strategic guidance that has forced a rethinking of the employment of weapons systems required to support it. In response to this challenge, the triad should be scaled down to an air and sea-based dyad. In doing so, the strategic employment of nuclear weapons as set forth in the SIOP, as well as the strategic posture, would be best supported in order to ensure our survival in an ever changing world. ENDNOTES 1Robert C. Aldridge, FIRST STRIKE! The Pentagon's Strategy for Nuclear War, (South End Press, Boston, MA, 1983), p. 27. 2Richard D. Lawrence, The Art and Practice of Military Strategy, (National Defense University, Washington, D.C., 1984), p. 569. 3Peter Pringle and William Arkin, SIOP: The Secret U.S. Plan for Nuclear War, (W.W. Norton & Company, New York, NY, 1983), p. 43. 4Lawrence, p. 569. 5Pringle and Arkin, p. 47. 6Lawrence, p. 571. 7Frederick H. Hartmann and Robert L. Wendzel, Defending America's Security, (Pergamon-Brassey's International Defense Publishers, Inc., McClean, VA, 1988), p. 231. 8Aldridge, p. 27-28. 9Aldridge, p. 29. 10Lawrence, p. 576. 11Aldridge, p. 33. 12Lawrence, p. 622-623. 13Aldridge, p. 35. 14Pringle and Arkin, p. 249. 15Peter Adams, "Chain to Congress: No Changes to Nuclear War Plan Envisioned," Defense News, Vol.5, No.11, (Mar 12, 1990), p. 40. 16Captain James R. Lynch, U.S. Navy, "Triad or Dyad?" Proceedings, (Jan 1990), p. 62. 17"Why the MX should be sea-based," The Washington Times, Thomas Moorer, (Mar 21, 1990), p. F4. 18Lynch, p. 62. 19William Proxmire, "Nuclear Deterrent Allows Defense Cuts," Defense News, Vol.5, No.13, (Mar 26, 1990), p. 23. 20Moorer, (3/21/90), p. F4. BIBLIOGRAPHY Adams, Peter, "Chain to Congress: No Changes to Nuclear War Plan Envisioned," Defense News, Vol.5, No.11, (Mar 12, 1990), p. 40. Aldridge, Robert C., FIRST STRIKE! The Pentagon's Strategy for Nuclear War, (South End Press, Boston, MA, 1983). Drew, Dennis M. and Snow, Donald M., Making Strategy: An Introduction to National Security Processes and Problems, (Air University Press, Maxwell Air Force Base, AL, 1988), p. 121-145; 195-209. Green, William C., Soviet Nuclear Weapons Policy: A Research and Bibliographic Guide, (Westview Press, Inc., Boulder, CO, 1987). Hartmann, Frederick H. and Wendzel, Robert L., Defending America's Security, (Pergamon-Brassey's International Defense Publishers, Inc., McClean, VA, 1988), p. 254-277. Lawrence, Richard D., The Art and Practice of Military Strategy, (National Defense University, Washington, D.C., 1984), p. 533-658. Lynch, James R., Captain, U.S. Navy, "Triad or Dyad?" Proceedings, (Jan 1990), p. 61-65. Pringle, Peter and Arkin, William, SIOP: The Secret U.S. Plan for Nuclear War, (W.W. Norton & Company, New York, NY, 1983). Proxmire, William, "Nuclear Deterrent Allows Defense Cuts," Defense News, Vol.5, No.13, (Mar 26, 1990), p. 23-24. Small, Melvin and Singer, J. David, International War: An Anthology and Study Guide, (Dorsey Press, Homewood, IL, 1985), p. 333-393. "Why the MX should be sea-based," Thomas Moorer, The Washington Times, (Mar 21, 1990), p. F1-4.



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