“By the time he is sworn in Friday, Donald Trump will have undergone a haunting rite of passage: the classified briefing given to every incoming president that explains how he can order a nuclear attack,” reads a story at Politico on the President’s initial contact with the go codes and the US strategic operational plan for global strike.
It was originally called the SIOP, or Single Integrated Operational Plan, and was developed and ordered into place under Eisenhower.
The SIOP was a mechanical plan, once set in motion –irreversible. Over the course of from one half hour after the execute order to about a day later it would grindingly go about ending all civilized life in the northern hemisphere.
Some descriptions on it, taken from Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Incident and the Illusion of Safety by Eric Schlosser convey the scope of it:
“[A SIOP briefing] was a ‘descent into the deep heart of darkness, a twilight underworld governed by disciplined, meticulous, and energetically mindless groupthink aimed at wiping out half of the people living on nearly one third of the earth’s surface.’ ”
“Hundreds of nuclear warheads would hit Moscow—dozens of them aimed at a single radar installation outside the city. During his previous job working for the Joint Chiefs, Butler had dealt with targeting issues and the damage criteria for nuclear weapons. He was hardly naive. But the days and weeks spent going through the SIOP, page by page, deeply affected him.
“For more than forty years, efforts to tame the SIOP, to limit it, reduce it, make it appear logical and reasonable, had failed. ‘With the possible exception of the Soviet nuclear war plan, this was the single most absurd and irresponsible document I had ever reviewed in my life,’ General Butler later recalled.”
In 2003 the SIOP was retired and replaced by the OPLAN, varying by numbers, the most current appently being OPLAN 8010.
The SIOP’s primary focus was the Soviet Union/Russia. The OPLAN was devised to allegedly be more flexible in a political context, now including Russia, China, North Korea, Syria and Iran in its targeting.
At the height of the Cold War the SIOP called for hitting the Soviet Union with 10,000 weapons. The smallest option called for a strike with 2,000, still a civilization-ending thermonuclear spasm.
Whereas once Moscow was targeted with hundreds of bombs, today it is apparently scheduled to be on the receiving end of a mere 60 or so.
Exposure to the reality of US thermonuclear strategic planning and global strike for the first time is said to make rational people feel faint.