Publication:
The probability of accidental nuclear war: a graphical model of the ballistic missile early warning system.

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Authors
Marsh, Barbara Y. Diegel
Subjects
accidental nuclear war
launch-on-warning
launch-under-attack
ballistic missile early warning system
NORAD
early warning system
false alarms
Advisors
Weir, Maurice D.
Gafford, Jack B.
Date of Issue
1985-03
Date
March 1985
Publisher
Language
en_US
Abstract
Six false alarms occurred at NORAD in 1978, 1979, and 1980. These false alarms subsequently regenerated interest in launch policies and the increased possibility of accidental nuclear war, which motivated this investigation. We construct a new model to address several questions: What is the sequence of events and reasonable timing between events in the missile warning system? How much time do decision makers have to respond to a threat? What effects do United States launch policies have on decision-making time? How likely is accidental nuclear war? The results show that accidental nuclear war is not very probable with launch-under-attack, but significantly more likely if the United States adopts a launch-on-warning policy. The final decision and responsibility to use these policies, once they are implemented, rests entirely with the President of the United States.
Type
Thesis
Description
Series/Report No
Department
Operations Research
Organization
Naval Postgraduate School (U.S.)
Identifiers
NPS Report Number
Sponsors
Funder
Format
Citation
Distribution Statement
Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.
Rights
This publication is a work of the U.S. Government as defined in Title 17, United States Code, Section 101. Copyright protection is not available for this work in the United States.
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