In This Review

Strategic Nuclear Targeting

Strategic Nuclear Targeting
Edited by Desmond Ball and Jeffrey Richelson
384 pp, Cornell University Press, 1986

This is an important book on an important subject, one that has not received very much systematic attention in the unclassified literature. The authors examine the evolution of U.S. nuclear war planning-including the development of the SIOP (Single Integrated Operational Plan), which is the plan for the employment and targeting of U.S. nuclear weapons-and then review the same for Britain, France and the Soviet Union. Although dealing with the most secret of secrets, they have been able to amass an impressive amount of data and to discuss many of the policy issues. Included in the collection are some essays that deal with the respective merits of targeting populations or industrial centers, military facilities or political assets, as well as questions involving the feasibility of controlled escalation and the imponderables of war termination.