Thank You

If you have hit the tip jar, and not gotten a thank you, please do let me know! I try to get those out ASAP, but with my short term memory OH SHINEY! 🙂 I’m supposed to make lists of what I need to do, and what I’ve done, and they work well — when I remember to do them. So if you have hit the tip jar, or made a non-anonymous donation via the fundraiser, and not gotten a thank you let me know so I can take care of it. Meantime, thank you all so much for the prayers, encouragement, and help. It is all very much appreciated.

*****

If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, feel free to hit the tip jar in the upper right or the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo. Getting hit by lightning is not fun, and it is thanks to your help and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

The Hardest Part

Something came up on social media that I thought I would talk about today. I occasionally get questions, most often along the lines of ‘what was it like to get hit by lightning?’ Something new/different came up, and it’s actually some good food for thought: What’s been the hardest thing to deal with?

Believe it or not, it’s not everything that has happened cardiac-wise. Getting the BP under control was an overlong process and exasperating, but manageable. Being told ‘you have to have open heart surgery within the next two weeks and we really recommend tomorrow morning so you don’t die’ was interesting. Again, something to work through and I’ve done okay with it I think. Need to exercise more, but driving to malls to walk when the heat/humidity keeps me inside (per the docs) is no longer in the budget. Hopefully the worst of summer moderates soon.

Nor is it the cognitive/memory issues. A close second, admittedly, but something that can be and is being dealt with. Testing says I’m still above average in all major areas of cognition, though that was followed by the word I’ve come to dread hearing from any doctor: but. In this case ‘but there are some issues that will last for at least three years while your brain heals.’ I’ve said before, the long-term memory issues are like someone went into the room full of filing cabinets that is my long term memory, went to random filing cabinets, pulled out a drawer at random, and dumped it on the floor. Then the jerk cut on a fan. The short-term issues require me to use a number of coping strategies that are familiar to those with TBI.

The hardest thing to deal with has been the damage to my hearing. There is some hearing loss/increase in tinnitus in both ears. On my right side, which is where I took the hit, I’ve lost all of the higher frequency hearing and the nerves involved are dead. The loss of hearing and increase in tinnitus is a bit higher in that ear. I qualify for a hearing aid in that ear, but the doc and I want to wait a year and see what’s happening, maybe build a baseline, as no matter what we can’t restore what’s lost.

One of the largest problems is that things don’t sound the same. Normal noises in the house can take time to analyze before I know what they are. Sometimes, the brain is helpful (cough, cough) and tries to augment the sound which really makes it hard to identify. I flat out miss hearing some things, and where with two good ears (for my age and times around bangs and booms) I could figure out quickly and accurately from where a sound was originating, well, that’s gone.

It also sucks when it comes to music. I love music and enjoy listening to it. Yet, I’m missing a chunk of it now and can tell it. I still enjoy listening to music, but I really wish I could hear it fully once again. Thank goodness for headphones! They help, esp. with the noise cancelling taking out extraneous room/house sounds that can be a problem.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad to be alive and grateful the damage wasn’t worse! I continue to give thanks to God and the Blessed Mother for that. That said, I’d be something other than human if I didn’t admit that it’s not been a smoothly paved path. Reminds me a lot more of a high-country hike years ago that led through boulders, ravines, loose rock, and other delights. No one ever promised me it would be easy. I will say that the help, prayers, and other support that continues to come in has made a huge difference. It is that, and Faith, that keep me going and not terrified at the challenges ahead. For your part in that, thank you. Let’s all press on, and meet the challenges as they come.

*****

If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, feel free to hit the tip jar in the upper right or the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo. Getting hit by lightning is not fun, and it is thanks to your help and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Something Different

Don’t know about you, but I could use a break from the super serious today. Nuclear war, the state of the Republic (no, we are NOT a democracy, thank goodness), and all else that is going on can get one down and/or raise BP to bad levels. So, something different.

I’ve always had interesting and vivid dreams. Last night, I swear I did NOT have Welsh rarebit for dinner. Yes, having eaten the real deal, I do subscribe to it giving strange/horrible/other dreams. Let’s just say that in my dreams last night my bathroom suddenly expanded to ten times its current size, began flooding, and the newborn ponies (!) turned into something else as the waters rose. Yeah. No idea. None.

While I didn’t have Welsh rarebit, what I did have last night was an amazing Murgh Makhani, better know to many as Butter Chicken.

The basic recipe is here, and was shared with me by an author and editor I know down in Chattanooga. It is a little involved, but well worth the time and effort. I will also get three to five meals out of it. My major mods to the recipe were: I used plain Greek yoghurt instead of regular, may choose regular next time just to try it; where it called for red chili powder I used a mix of chipotle and red pepper; and, where it called for salt I went 50/50 on Himalayan and hickory smoked salt. The pepper mix did kick the heat up somewhat but also helped add to the richness via the smokiness of the chipotle. This was enhanced by the smoked salt.

I also marinated the chicken for 48 hours instead of just overnight. Part of that was time issues and part was curiosity.

The result was a rich (do use the heavy cream) dish with layers of flavor, intense spice, and a nice level of heat. I used chicken thighs this time, but probably will use breast next time to try for more uniform-sized pieces. I do try to keep keto, but will recommend garlic naan with this dish, and basmati rice should work well too.

Enjoy!

*****

If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, feel free to hit the tip jar in the upper right or the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo. Getting hit by lightning is not fun, and it is thanks to your help and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Some Quick Thoughts

NOTE: If you had problems getting to the site, thank you for persevering and I will simply state that my hosting provider, Dreamhost, sucks. If I had the time and money I’d switch immediately at this point. Don’t, so can’t, but suggestions on good hosting providers most welcome. Given that I usually have a short time in which to write these posts, if the occasional typo/autocorrect error makes you meltdown, you might want to skip. These posts are high-level overviews, and if you want to discuss details, special cases, one-offs, etc. feel free but keep it civil and don’t pretend non-inclusion is a world-ending mistake to give yourself ego-boo. For all those (the majority of you) making good, solid, and thoughtful comments: THANK YOU! Such are very much appreciated.

In yesterday’s post, I failed to add in an important step. Before starting your evacuation, be sure to check any and all vehicles you can to see if any of them start. Some may.

Blast fronts, and even EMP, can do a bit funny on occasion. Terrain, structures, and other delights can create blast shadows and otherwise tamp the fronts. Having been through a “spontaneous disassembly caused by a sudden overpressure” event (the boffins were adamant it wasn’t an explosion as there was unburnt solid rocket propellant lying around), one of the weirdest and amazing things happened to the front of a nearby building. The blast front hit it and sheared off the bolts on the glass curtain front wall and moved the entire structure about ten feet in. Not a single pane of glass cracked or broke. The effort to get it moved back may not have been as successful, think they ended up taking it apart as the crew said no way to move it back without breaking it. Seen and heard of some other weirdness over the years.

The same can hold true for EMP, particularly from a local explosion. Structures and terrain have the potential to block or attenuate EMP and even the radiation front. So, be sure to try your vehicle, and/or any others you can access, before heading out on foot. One suggestion though is to have a proper container you can siphon gas into from any unworking vehicles to use in the one you can as you are not likely to find many working filling stations on your bugout. In fact, an extra-long siphon hose or mechanical crank siphon is not a bad thing to have on hand/with you so you can access underground tanks and even barrels.

While it may seem ghoulish, when checking for working vehicles be sure to check on that older neighbor who has the pristine older vehicle. If they no longer need it, and it runs… If they are alive, kicking, and wanting out, work with them and become a team. Win/Win.

Which leads to another point: know your neighbors. Odds are at least one of them will be good people, and someone you can work with in an emergency, be it an ice storm/power outage or nuclear war. While crowds are not my thing and are to be avoided in most circumstances, having a reasonable sized group is an advantage in a bugout situation. It allows more supplies and gear to be taken, mutual support, and if they happen to be current or former military (which tends to show) it’s going to discourage the looters and others attempting to prey on the weak.

In fact, it’s not a bad idea to get to know a number of people who have different skills. I actually know of some who ended up moving near each other so that in an emergency they could support each other. Sort of like one of those art communities but with an emphasis on preparedness that could also be presented as a historical group who could do blacksmithing and other “old fashioned” things for re-enactments.

Anytime you do have to do the bugout boogie, I want to emphasize something Dean Ing pushes hard in his works: staging. You may be starting out in a vehicle, but roads can be impassable, other things can happen, so you need to leave it and move on. If a car/truck/etc. can’t get through, what about trail bikes or even bicycles? You can even pull a cart behind them at need. Seem to recall a story where they started in an RV, dropped down to a car/truck pulling a large trailer, then to ATVs/trail bikes pulling smaller trailer(s), then to bicycles, and only in ultimate need dropping to foot. Ultimately, be prepared for it being by shank’s mare, but start at the highest level of transport you can get as you can always step down; but, it’s likely to be hard to step back up.

Also, while I focused on sitting tight to avoid the worst of the fallout, I also mentioned that I may be on the wrong side of the conflagration zone. If the structure of my building is too damaged, or the fires are starting/burning, I’m getting the heck out of Dodge. I’m going to see if any vehicle runs, but if not I’m moving out with what I can quickly grab or already have ready (have your bugout bags ready at all times!). I may or may not be able to clear the fires and/or firestorm, but I’m going to try my best to do so.

Just some quick thoughts that really didn’t fit in yesterday’s post.

Some Previous Posts:

Vladimir And The Ukraine

Answers, Ramblings, And A Bit More On Vladimir And The Ukraine

Your Must Read For The Day On Russia

The Puzzles In Play, And The Missing Pieces

Quick Thoughts On Ukraine/Putin

The Thing Behind The Curtain

Missing Pieces And Surprise Pieces

Thursday Update

Not A Lot To Add

Noted

Monday Update

Burn Notice

Accuracy, Reliability, And More

Putin, Trump, And The Coming Storm

Three Futures For Russia

Quick Thoughts

Saturday Update

Mismatched Locomotives

War, Ag, Demographics, And The Worst Is Yet To Come

Past, Present, And A Hungry Future

Huge Grain Of Salt

The Moskva

Retribution Inbound

Uncertainty And Preparation

Honest Question

Monday Morning Quick Brief

War Of The Memes

A Little Free Ice Cream

Rumors Of War

Three Times Is…

If It’s Wednesday, This Must Be Moldova

Going Nuclear

How To Spy On The Russians

Here’s Hoping I’m Wrong

Pins And Needles Time

Mock Away

Intel Wars

The Revenge Of HUMINT

A Funny Thing Happened

Rumors of Rumors

Ukraine, Uvalde, Oh My

Very Interesting


A Quick Russia/Ukraine Update

Russia/Ukraine/Lithuania

Hmmmm

Hmmmm Follow-Up

Ukraine/Russia Tidbit

If You Think

*****

Nuclear War Posts In Order:

Nuclear What?

Nuclear 101: Weapons

Nuclear 101: Delivery

Nuclear 101: Now What?

Nuclear 101: Targeting

Nuclear 101: Scenarios

Nuclear 101: Survival

*****

If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, feel free to hit the tip jar in the upper right or the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo. Getting hit by lightning is not fun, and it is thanks to your help and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Nuclear 101: Survival

NOTE: If you had problems getting to the site, thank you for persevering and I will simply state that my hosting provider, Dreamhost, sucks. If I had the time and money I’d switch immediately at this point. Don’t, so can’t, but suggestions on good hosting providers most welcome. Given that I usually have a short time in which to write these posts, if the occasional typo/autocorrect error makes you meltdown, you might want to skip. These posts are high-level overviews, and if you want to discuss details, special cases, one-offs, etc. feel free but keep it civil and don’t pretend non-inclusion is a world-ending mistake to give yourself ego-boo. For all those (the majority of you) making good, solid, and thoughtful comments: THANK YOU! Such are very much appreciated.

First and foremost, yes humanity CAN survive a nuclear war. Is it possible to destroy all life on earth via nuclear war? Theoretically, yes, but it would take enough work and planning that there are good odds the insane people behind such an effort would be detected and hopefully dealt with early on. The same applies for any effort to wipe out humanity.

A current full-level exchange will do tremendous damage to the world, its ecosystems, and reduce human population, possibly even significantly via the loss of major cities. That said, if humans survive in sufficient numbers, we will find ways to thrive and bounce back, it’s the nature of the beast.

While the best way to survive is to not live near a target, it’s not a valid option for many people. I will admit that in my efforts to move out West for my health, one of the factors I’ve used in deciding on location has included not being near any primary, secondary, or even tertiary targets. Until then, however, I do live in a target city: Indianapolis. I strongly suspect it is a secondary target based on the old Soviet doctrine to take out state capitals, and as such it would be a bomber and not a missile target. Let’s run with that as a base assumption.

First, let me say I sincerely hope the Russians have updated their targeting packages as back a few years/decades ago, in addition to the capitol complex they would have targeted the Ford and GM plants, Western Electric (which actually had a bomb shelter under it), and possibly a few other facilities. Given bureaucratic inertia, I would be unsurprised (though extremely briefly disappointed) to find out that the targeting packages had not been changed and the Russians were bombing empty fields and possibly a strip mall.

Manufacturing is no longer the target driver for Indianapolis. Aside from the state government, the largest player is logistics, followed by data/management activities and biomedical research. The Indianapolis International Airport is one of the largest air cargo operations in the U.S. and slated to continue growing as the planned major expansion hub for FedEx. While there is a large amount of rail cargo as well, four interstates and several state highways brings in a staggering amount of truck-hauled cargo each day.

For purposes of our discussion today, let’s limit things to a single 1-megaton device detonated over the state capital. What damage would it do? Check out this entry in Britannica and this page at McGill University for some answers.

Such a blast would not only take out the state government complex, it would also destroy much of the data/management and biomedical research that is concentrated in the downtown area, close those four major interstates, damage if not destroy the airport and prevent operations, and take out a good bit of warehousing and logistics operations.

For me, where I live in a basement room, I am outside the circles for immediate destruction and while the building will likely take damage it should not be destroyed in the immediate blast wave and overpressure. Where things are very iffy is with the thermal effects including firestorm moving out from the area of the explosion. Depending on a number of factors, I’m either toast or I’m fine given distance and location. Let’s go with the fine, and get into what I do to stay fine.

To be honest, as this is a secondary target, if I have a working vehicle I will have packed as much essentials as I have and be long gone given any warning. I have places I can go, friends I can visit, etc. But, let’s say there’s no warning. What do I do?

First up after the blast, I’m checking the building out and determining how long I can stay in said building. I’m also checking to be sure nothing is trying to start a fire or otherwise create a major hazard. There is a very brief period between a blast and when fallout truly starts to come down. Make the most of that very limited time. Even in that time, I’m covering my mouth and nose with a mask, or two- to three-layers of tightly woven t-shirt. The latter is NOT ideal, but works well enough in an emergency.

Many years back, I had some interesting talks with a group at Ft. McPherson about some possible consulting work exploring the use of everyday items in a response to a nuclear exchange. Yes, bunkers, MOPP, etc. may be ideal but are not realistic for the vast majority of people. So, we were going to look at how to improvise good responses. Sadly, that did not take off as new administrations have different priorities. Doesn’t mean I can’t suggest a couple of out-of-the-box ideas here.

Now, the fact is that I, like thousands of others, are going to have to leave because we are on that nasty edge. However, for a number of reasons, it’s going to be best to wait a few days if possible so as to minimize fallout exposure. So, once I secure the structure of the building (and, yes, you should also be prepared to provide security), I’m going to cover the windows to the basement as best I can if not already take care of before the blast. Then, I’m going to shift bookcases and other items in my room to enclose an area as close to the center of the structure as possible. Why the bookcases? Books make great radiation shielding. I’m going to steal some wood pallets from my landlord to create a raised area, then seal that area with plastic including over the pallets. I’m also creating an “air lock” for getting in and out of the area. Tightly woven sheets go over the plastic, providing extra filtration. Put pillows and such down, and you have a nice secure area as a base. Bring in some of your prep food, a 5-gallon bucket as an emergency toilet, and you are in about the best shape you can be at that point.

If I don’t have a keychain detector, dosimeter, or other manufactured device, I check my Kearny Fallout Meter I built when things started to go south. Build it, or buy the other stuff in advance, as after the bombs go off it’s a bit late… If all is good, or at least good enough, and I have enough extra plastic, I’m going to cover the larger room as much as possible. If I’ve planned really, really well, I should have enough stuff left to create a small decontamination area outside the room. If not, one improvises and yes, I do have plans for that as well. As I can, I’m going to help those around me that are wanting to survive and willing to work.

Once I’ve done what I can to create a safe zone, taken care of others as warranted, and done as much advanced prep work as I can, I’m going to hunker down in my inner shelter and wait things out. Presuming no emergencies or the need to defend the site, sit, wait, and see if the emergency radio I tucked away a while back works and if so, if anyone is broadcasting and hopefully providing useful information. If not, I’m going to keep an ear out for military vehicles or any form of announcements being made by people.

Let’s presume no evacuation effort happens, no major problems crop up, etc. After two-three days, or if the Kearny meter says it’s good, I’m going to have to leave. The structure is damaged, power is out which means nasty radioactive flooding if it rains, and a probably degrading security situation. During my wait, I’ve made my preparations to depart. My largest backpack is filled with food, first aid, defensive means, survival gear, etc. I’ve turned the wheelbarrow into a covered means of transport and it has water, food, and other needful things already in it ready to go. Every water bladder, bottle, etc. integral to my gear is filled. I have my medicines and such in the backpack, it’s time.

I’m dressed in layers, and over it all I have my oilskin coat (or duster depending on some issues) and my poncho over that. I’ve rigged a plastic cover over my waterproof hat to help keep dust away from my face. I’m masked up, gloved up, and covered up as completely as I can be. At first light I take off and begin to head out using tertiary roads as much as possible as main roads are likely to be impassible. Where am I headed? In real life, not saying.

In this scenario, I plan to head south then west and try to find transport. Heading this way should put me on a course away from major fallout and radiation. Just to be safe, I frequently check the fallout meter. As for all the waterproof outer layers? Makes decontamination a lot easier and keeps the fallout away from you.

Now, if I were further out from the blast, and was clear of the major fallout path, my preference would be to hunker down and shelter in place. If you have made sufficient advance preparations, and are in a good location, it really would be the best choice. The less you have to go outside, especially at first, the better. Be prepared to deal with refugees and guide them onwards towards help. Be prepared for other issues at need.

Also keep in mind that general emergency preparedness, or preparedness for inflation and food issues, is the same basic preparedness you need for a nuclear situation. The only difference is that you should add in detection gear and gear to help you deal with the fallout. Also, have the means for you and each member of your family/group to transport as much of that material as possible if/when you have to leave. Wagons, carts, wheelbarrows and other delights can be used for other things until needed for emergency use.

If you are interested in preparedness, start here on page 3 of my preparedness posts and work your way forward. Just remember that while the number and type of disasters can approach infinity, there are only a few types of damage and that makes preparation relatively easy.

Again, this is a high-level overview and I’m not getting into a lot of detail. If there is interest in that, let me know and I can look at doing some posts that drill down a bit and explore things in more detail. Also, as I noted the other day, find a copy of Dean Ing’s Pulling Through and buy it! That and Alas Babylon are two excellent books to have on hand. Meantime, the thing to keep in mind is that even near a target, with prior planning (and a bit of luck) it is possible to survive a nuclear blast or war. How well and for how long are up to you to a surprising degree.

Some Previous Posts:

Vladimir And The Ukraine

Answers, Ramblings, And A Bit More On Vladimir And The Ukraine

Your Must Read For The Day On Russia

The Puzzles In Play, And The Missing Pieces

Quick Thoughts On Ukraine/Putin

The Thing Behind The Curtain

Missing Pieces And Surprise Pieces

Thursday Update

Not A Lot To Add

Noted

Monday Update

Burn Notice

Accuracy, Reliability, And More

Putin, Trump, And The Coming Storm

Three Futures For Russia

Quick Thoughts

Saturday Update

Mismatched Locomotives

War, Ag, Demographics, And The Worst Is Yet To Come

Past, Present, And A Hungry Future

Huge Grain Of Salt

The Moskva

Retribution Inbound

Uncertainty And Preparation

Honest Question

Monday Morning Quick Brief

War Of The Memes

A Little Free Ice Cream

Rumors Of War

Three Times Is…

If It’s Wednesday, This Must Be Moldova

Going Nuclear

How To Spy On The Russians

Here’s Hoping I’m Wrong

Pins And Needles Time

Mock Away

Intel Wars

The Revenge Of HUMINT

A Funny Thing Happened

Rumors of Rumors

Ukraine, Uvalde, Oh My

Very Interesting


A Quick Russia/Ukraine Update

Russia/Ukraine/Lithuania

Hmmmm

Hmmmm Follow-Up

Ukraine/Russia Tidbit

If You Think

*****

Nuclear War Posts In Order:

Nuclear What?

Nuclear 101: Weapons

Nuclear 101: Delivery

Nuclear 101: Now What?

Nuclear 101: Targeting

Nuclear 101: Scenarios

*****

If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, feel free to hit the tip jar in the upper right or the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo. Getting hit by lightning is not fun, and it is thanks to your help and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Too Stupid to Govern, 3

The problem isn’t what the Press Secretary doesn’t know, it’s what she thinks she knows that ain’t so.

If I posted one of these every time someone said something stupid, I’d have to quit my day job. But this one was so egregious that I can’t help myself.

“There has been an urgency from this president from day one, when the Supreme Court made this extreme decision to take away a constitutional right, it was an unconstitutional action by them,” Jean-Pierre stated. She noted Roe created “a right that was around for almost 50 years, a right that women had to make a decision on their bodies and how they want to start their families.”

Yes, that’s our White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, speaking to the press about President Biden’s efforts to work around the fact that the Supreme Court has ruled that there’s no Constitutional right to abortion.

Let me be clearer, too, since so many people have obfuscated or become confused about this point: The Supreme Court didn’t “take away” a Constitutional right “that was around for almost 50 years.” When SCOTUS overruled Roe, they were pointing out that Roe was wrongly decided, and that such a right had never existed. If you’re Catholic, it’s the difference between divorce and an annulment: They’re actually, really, truly different things.

Final point: I don’t think we’ve ever had a more incoherent Press Secretary.

Nuclear 101: Scenarios

NOTE: If you had problems getting to the site, thank you for persevering and I will simply state that my hosting provider, Dreamhost, sucks. If I had the time and money I’d switch immediately at this point. Don’t, so can’t, but suggestions on good hosting providers most welcome. Given that I usually have a short time in which to write these posts, if the occasional typo/autocorrect error makes you meltdown, you might want to skip. These posts are high-level overviews, and if you want to discuss details, special cases, one-offs, etc. feel free but keep it civil and don’t pretend non-inclusion is a world-ending mistake to give yourself ego-boo. For all those (the majority of you) making good, solid, and thoughtful comments: THANK YOU! Such are very much appreciated.

Well, I had planned to spend today discussing tactical weapons/atomic demolition munitions and then explore some scenarios. However, Winnie The Poo himself, Xi, has done something incredibly stupid even by his standards which sort of highlights that desperation thing I’ve talked about a few times.

In the epic temper-tantrum and meltdown being pitched by Xi and company over Granny WineBox’s visit to Taiwan, Xi approved the launch of several ballistic missiles: over Taiwan. Even better, according to reports now hitting the media, they landed in Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone. Now, leaving aside the toddler-level histrionics of the tantrum, doing this would appear to be in violation of more than one international convention, possibly one or more treaties, and is ill-considered to say the least. It does, however, give a good intro to exploring a scenario of how a political leader being an idiot can start WWIII.

For all that it is a tired trope in fiction, I personally find it to be one of the more likely scenarios. Fact is, people make mistakes and sometimes those mistakes snowball. Ego gets in the way of rationality and you also have to consider the toddler-model of governmental interaction (short version: governments tend to behave like toddlers in a room full of toys).

Okay, let’s say one of the missiles had a malfunction, so that it went short and the warhead hit in a major city on Taiwan. Even if a dummy, it’s moving at speeds that start to make it a Kinetic Energy Vehicle (KEV) that could, potentially, have the impact of a small nuke. Safe to say, things are going to get tense and given that the Chinese military is already out acting like a bully having a tantrum and looking for a target, you get good odds of things escalating.

Now, let’s consider a malfunction that causes a missile to go long and off course. What if it hit actual Japanese territory, or say a passenger ship? Do you really think Japan’s going to be terribly understanding? Or that Xi and company might actually think and try to de-escalate the situation? Yeah, I don’t give good odds on that. And, for the record, this is a hypothetical and I know Japan is not a nuclear power and for obvious reasons doesn’t like nuclear weapons. That said, it does have allies who are, and Japan also knows it is on Xi’s list.

Given the amount of air traffic flying over Taiwan (that area is a MAJOR air corridor), let’s think about something that actually could have happened. Back when I was getting my pilot’s license many years ago, one of my cross country solo flights took me through military airspace. Had all the appropriate permissions and such, but as I was in that airspace traffic control came on and told me to turn to a new course immediately. I was making the turn even as I acknowledged the order (crazy I may be, stupid I try to avoid). As I made my turn, I saw artillery firing and could even see some of the shells as they rose up to and through the altitude I was flying.

Like those shells, ballistic missiles, warheads, re-entry vehicles, etc. don’t care that you are there. Unlike those shells, they are moving at speeds that make it almost impossible for them to be spotted and a plane maneuver out of the way. Now, imagine that through sheer bad luck one of those missiles had hit an American passenger jet as it flew through that heavily congested airspace. Shades of KAL007. Except that in this case, as we send in aircraft and ships for search and rescue/recovery efforts, one or more of them are attacked because someone on the Chinese side fucked up.

Situations like that can get out of hand fast. The late Fred Thompson’s line in the Hunt For Red October is true and prophetic. It’s one reason for having tight control of nuclear weapons, and things like Permissive Action Links (PALs, sometimes referred to in older documents/fiction as Presidential Initiative Device, PID) and release codes. Problem is, the smaller the weapon the more likely someone at a lower level could do something like staging it for ready use if they think the order might come. Let’s say the skipper of an attack sub thinks that a release order is coming or that war has already started. He then uses a torpedo (or more) with nuclear warhead(s) to attack one or more U.S. ships coming in for search and rescue/recovery efforts. That whole “least stable” thing I keep talking about with leaders? It goes down the chain as well, and it can fall on a simple seaman hitting the button when they shouldn’t just like in the fictional The Bedford Incident.

In fact, since continuing to think on the imbecilic bone-headed (insert more choice words here) actions of Xi and company is not helping my blood pressure, let’s turn to a potentially fun way of exploring different scenarios. Let’s look at fiction, good and bad.

One of the first books I ever read on nuclear war and surviving afterwards is the highly recommended Alas Babylon by Pat Frank. It is one book I recommend having as a paper copy as it is not just a good story but an excellent primer on on preparedness. It is fairly realistic (esp. for its time) and optimistic.

If you want to get into more nihilistic fantasy with the fanatical commies willing to live underground for 50+ years to take over the world (except for the U.S. which will be a radioactive wasteland with no life of any type), go for Triumph by Philip Wylie. The concepts of special nuclear weapons discussed is interesting, as are the aspects of bunker/shelter design raised. I’m not a fan of the book, to be honest, though it did help inspire a high school science fair project on designing a shelter to keep X number of people alive and communicating for at least five years.

In the same vein, you have On The Beach by Nevil Shute. If emotions are your thing, enjoy. If a thoughtful and realistic novel is your desire, this is about as realistic IMO as Triumph, which is to say not at all.

To get back to books I can recommend, you need a paper copy of Pulling Through by Dean Ing. If you have not read his fiction, I highly recommend it. If you have not read his non-fiction, including his work on preparedness, I HIGHLY recommend it. He and the late Jerry Pournelle wrote a lot of very good material on preparedness and related topics. Get it. If you have to, get it electronic and print it out. Pulling Through is half fiction and half non-fiction, and both halves are chock full of good and important information. Get this book!

When it comes to movies, there’s just not a lot out there that looks realistically at preparedness and survival in the aftermath. Most, IMO, tend to be rather nihilistic and pessimistic as well as heavily political. If inevitable death is your thing, go for The Bedford Incident, Fail-Safe, and a host of lesser movies. Even the enjoyable Dr. Strangelove has the world end. I will note that the movie Damnation Alley shared only a title and a couple of character names with Roger Zelazny’s good novel.

Two movies I do/did enjoy, though realistic is not necessarily a word I would associate with them, are WarGames and By Dawn’s Early Light. WarGames frankly was just some good, fun, escapism in which I could ignore the politics and not have to deal with suspension of disbelief issues because it was so unrealistic. The Mad magazine satire of it was excellent, with everyone including the computer asking Matthew Broderick’s character why he was playing with the computer instead of Ally Sheedy. At the end of the movie, you see the computer going through a variety of scenarios and playing them out. And, yes, the category for these articles is a play on the “Would you like to play a game?” from the movie.

By Dawn’s Early Light is one of those movies I almost hate to like. For certain values of correct, it actually got a few things right. The performances by Powers Boothe, James Earl Jones, and Martin Landau were such that I could/can ignore the anti-Christian, evil Army colonel, grrrlllll power, and one-dimensional patriot aspects as well as some massive plot holes. I admit that I tend to hear Peter MacNicol’s repeated line as ‘Mr. President, please don’t torture yourself, that’s my job!’ All that said, it does offer a more optimistic take on things, and reminds us that people can dial it back under the right circumstances.

The only thing on television that I can even halfway recommend was The Day After. Sorta.

With that, I will call it a day. Tomorrow I plan to start talking about preparedness and survival.

Some Previous Posts:

Vladimir And The Ukraine

Answers, Ramblings, And A Bit More On Vladimir And The Ukraine

Your Must Read For The Day On Russia

The Puzzles In Play, And The Missing Pieces

Quick Thoughts On Ukraine/Putin

The Thing Behind The Curtain

Missing Pieces And Surprise Pieces

Thursday Update

Not A Lot To Add

Noted

Monday Update

Burn Notice

Accuracy, Reliability, And More

Putin, Trump, And The Coming Storm

Three Futures For Russia

Quick Thoughts

Saturday Update

Mismatched Locomotives

War, Ag, Demographics, And The Worst Is Yet To Come

Past, Present, And A Hungry Future

Huge Grain Of Salt

The Moskva

Retribution Inbound

Uncertainty And Preparation

Honest Question

Monday Morning Quick Brief

War Of The Memes

A Little Free Ice Cream

Rumors Of War

Three Times Is…

If It’s Wednesday, This Must Be Moldova

Going Nuclear

How To Spy On The Russians

Here’s Hoping I’m Wrong

Pins And Needles Time

Mock Away

Intel Wars

The Revenge Of HUMINT

A Funny Thing Happened

Rumors of Rumors

Ukraine, Uvalde, Oh My

Very Interesting


A Quick Russia/Ukraine Update

Russia/Ukraine/Lithuania

Hmmmm

Hmmmm Follow-Up

Ukraine/Russia Tidbit

If You Think

*****

Nuclear War Posts In Order:

Nuclear What?

Nuclear 101: Weapons

Nuclear 101: Delivery

Nuclear 101: Now What?

Nuclear 101: Targeting

*****

If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, feel free to hit the tip jar in the upper right or the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo. Getting hit by lightning is not fun, and it is thanks to your help and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Nuclear 101: Targeting

NOTE: If you had problems getting to the site, thank you for persevering and I will simply state that my hosting provider, Dreamhost, sucks. If I had the time and money I’d switch immediately at this point. Don’t, so can’t, but suggestions on good hosting providers most welcome. Given that I usually have a short time in which to write these posts, if the occasional typo/autocorrect error makes you meltdown, you might want to skip. Same for anyone melting down about the number of spaces after a period: I was raised two, WordPress keeps trying to change that to one, and so far the battle between us is a draw. These posts are high-level overviews, and if you want to discuss details, special cases, one-offs, etc. feel free but keep it civil and don’t pretend non-inclusion is a world-ending mistake to give yourself ego-boo. For all those (the majority of you) making good, solid, and thoughtful comments: THANK YOU! Such are very much appreciated.

So, we’ve scratched the surface (barely) on weapons, means of delivery, and philosophy. Today, we will focus on the philosophy of reality: targeting. Again, I’m not planning to get into the weeds on this and I’m also, for now, probably only going to focus on a few of the thousands of possible scenarios. While not exhaustive, it will provide enough understanding to help people make decision on preparedness and survival.

While it can be sort of fun in a war game (or if you are trying to create panic in the public) to have an Oprah moment and declare ‘you’re a target, you’re a target, everything’s a target’ it doesn’t really work that way. At least not now, though some do argue that was the case a few decades back. So, what does make a good target for a full-scale attack?

First up, your enemy’s command and control systems. Yep the systems that control the nukes are indeed a prime target, as if you can take them out, it will limit, or possibly, maybe, prevent retaliation. No leaders, no means to communicate, huge amounts of confusion, and you should have time to act with a degree of impunity.

Second, your enemy’s atomic weapons and delivery systems. The emphasis is going to be on getting the first strike weapons such as missiles, boomers/missile subs, cruise missile launchers/launch sites, etc. Within that, you are going to target bomber and other bases to try and take out those nuclear weapons as well. You also want to prevent fighters from launching to prevent them from shooting down your bombers and you don’t want the tankers to launch as they can keep fighters, command planes, and other platforms fueled and up.

What makes a good secondary target? Going back to the days of the Soviet Union, that could/would/did include state capitols, manufacturing centers, ground-force bases, harbors, naval bases that weren’t first strike targets, and other delights.

The basic idea is to use your missiles (cruise missiles, etc.) to take out your enemy’s ability to use their nuclear weapons on you. You do this by getting inside their communications loops (in terms of time and, if possible, the actual signals) or outright eliminating their leadership and those communication systems and loops before they can be used. You do this by destroying the missiles, bombs, and weapon depots before they can be used/utilized. With those systems removed, you go in and attack the secondary targets using aircraft and other means.

Can you have a less-than-full-scale exchange? Theoretically, yes. One class of scenarios involves having a weak-willed enemy who for various reasons chooses not to retaliate at all to a limited strike. Another class involves someone who agrees to limit retaliation to the same level of damage. Yet another class of scenarios is based off having your enemy fuck up by the numbers and give you clear targets that also eliminate the means of retaliation. Could happen. Maybe. Has happened conventionally, so…

The most likely form of limited attack, in my opinion, is likely to be a terrorist or rogue state attack. For a number of good reasons, they are not likely to have/have access to a large number of weapons. In such a case, odds are pretty good they will go after more symbolic targets though some scenarios look at them hitting targets that have a chance of creating situations messier than a nuclear device alone. No, not going to get into more details on that, they have enough ideas as it is and I may have been banned from being OPFOR more than once.

Actually, the scariest scenario out there — to my mind–involves only a single weapon. It’s a scenario that is often associated with surprise first strikes, but just by itself has the potential to put us back to a 1600s level of technology and food production. That scenario is a Fractional Orbital Bombardment System (FOBS) attack.

This version of a FOBS attack essentially has a large warhead (possibly a special warhead to boot) masquerade as a harmless satellite launch. As the device heads up towards orbit, it passes over the center of the United States, and detonates. The resulting Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) will take out not only the electrical grid, but fry every computer and/or electronic device in the continental United States. Only shielded systems will survive. Hate to break it to you, but your car with multiple computers (the newer the more it has), your cell phone, your radio, your stove, your microwave, your toaster, your computer/laptop/tablet, even a large number of medical devices are not shielded. Say bye to them and to your heating/cooling, municipal water, well pumps, sump pumps, and all the features of modern life.

For a nation dependent on just-in-time shipping, it means stores will be rapidly out of food, medicines, clothing, and anything else not locally made. The food in your freezer or refrigerator? Cook and eat it fast, as even if there was power they are still controlled by electronics that are now fried. Even if every train in every museum could be brought back on line and wood/coal/other fuel for them obtained, it’s not even a fraction of one percent of what is carried by train and truck today.

Now, really want to lose sleep? Think about Iran having not only a bomb (courtesy of a lot of help from Pakistan and China apparently) but a proven ability to launch a satellite (again, word is you can thank the CCP, the assholes). Yep, did it a while back and if corporate media covered the story, it tended to be along the lines of ‘nuclear ambitions thwarted, Iran has joined the peaceful use of space club’ type story. Think about the fact that the Mullahs are facing the strongest opposition and uprisings since the revolution; and, that they are committed to bringing about the return of the hidden Imam to Earth — which happens to require an apocalypse. Remember yesterday when I mentioned how MAD placed the safety of the world in the hands of the least stable leader? Can you really look at Putin, Xi, Biden, and the Mullahs and say any of them are in a secure position such that they feel safe and secure about remaining in power? You’re welcome.

A few more points need to be brought up in regards targeting. These are factors that planners (and those seeking to thwart said plans) have to consider.

First up, where do you explode the bomb? Exploding it above ground is going to allow the weapon to destroy or damage a larger area. It also tends to produce less fallout, making it a cleaner weapon.

If you really need to take out a particular structure or location for whatever reason, a ground burst may be the better option to ensure total destruction of that target. Because it is a ground burst, there is going to be a larger amount of fallout since the bomb will be vaporizing/pulverizing soil, structures, etc. and sending it up into the atmosphere and on its way.

The final option is a sub-surface burst. Hardened structures such as bunkers, or even some surface structures, are designed to withstand direct hits and/or near misses. Using ground-penetrating systems increases the chance that even a deeply buried bunker, or massive surface structure, can be destroyed or at least taken off line. Nasty fallout, but I’m also told that it is more limited, at least in terms of the spread. If the boffins from whom I got that information are wrong, I hope it’s on the nastiness of the fallout.

Now, there are two things to consider in regards the statement “How much do you hate that target?” The first is technical in nature, the second one is political in nature.

Your enemy, like you, has a primary control center located well away from other targets like the capital city. It may or may not be a “secret” base or center, but it is likely to be solidly built and deep underground or even inside a mountain. Since The Hole and the Cheyenne Mountain Complex are far from secret and have had their exteriors star on film and television (and rumor is those who worked at both wish the interiors had been as nice as Hollywood portrayed), I’m going to use them for examples. Yes, they did shut down the Cheyenne Mountain Complex for a while, and the Stargate program (annoyed about that still) in the dummy missile silo below the NORAD center (cough, choke, wheeze). While it is not what it was, still makes a good example.

Let’s face it, anyone who wants to attack the United States of America hates The Hole. They don’t just want to knock it offline, they want to destroy it. When first constructed, it was extremely survivable given the accuracy of the times. Now, I don’t know anyone who truly considers it to be survivable. A shaped nuclear charge in a ground penetrator on the most accurate delivery vehicle possible… Think the movies in this case have it right: the orders have to be given and command delegated before it gets hit.

Now, let’s look at the Mountain. Again, when it was built the design was amazingly good. For those who aren’t familiar, the tunnel opening you always see on television and in the movies runs all the way through the mountain. The idea was that if a bomb went off nearby, the blast would go through and not directly impact the doors and such inside. Net result was that the Mountain could ride out even very large blasts.

While there are a couple of tricks that could be tried to simply collapse any and all chambers in the Mountain, I think changing times could easily turn a key defense into an Achilles heel. If you used a cruise missile or hypersonic glide vehicle to put a warhead into the tunnel, the complex is not designed to withstand that. Now, I can think of a couple of ways to prevent that, but…

Now for the political considerations. By and large, the U.S. has focused on developing “clean” weapons. There are a number of reasons for that including but not limited to the fact that I have yet to meet anyone on our side who wants to live underground for a few decades. As long as the weapons are relatively clean, I don’t think it will come to that or any other bad science fiction nihilistic apocalyptic trope.

But, not everyone feels that way about cleaner is better. In fact, an argument can be made that some targets require a dirty weapon because you don’t want ANYONE going into that area for decades. Someone completely unhinged could even desire to make every bomb a dirty bomb to make an enemy the new Carthage. Doing so is easier than many would care for: simply jacket the bomb in cobalt (nasty radiation, long lasting) or some other element or elements that give the desired level of radiation and a decay rate that meets your plan. Someone brought the cobalt bomb up in comments, my thanks to them.

I didn’t cover special weapons in detail the other day as this series is primarily intended for people who have thought little or not at all about the unthinkable. I really don’t want to overwhelm, as my hope is that they will then want to start digging into things and that is when you can start getting into details and precision. Right now, accurate and high-level works. Getting into extreme details on weapons design, orbital mechanics, polar launches, and the many variables on FOBS is counter-productive to the reasons and goals for this series. Feel free to add details and even trivia in the comments, just keep it polite and unclassified.

However, I do feel that I need to mention the nuclear “torpedo” that Russia is allegedly developing as the warhead and the delivery vehicle itself can be considered to fall into the special category. According to the marketing hype, the warhead is massive and dirty, which puts it into the special weapons category. The delivery vehicle, which from the marketing hype would appear to be the size of a small submarine, may either be a form of underwater cruise missile or a drone. Detecting such a vehicle before it hits Norfolk, Pearl Harbor, or other major base could be a challenge. Something to keep an eye on.

The final thing I’m going to bring up in targeting today is the need for multiple attacks on major targets. Why? Simple. When was the last time you saw a complex distributed system where everything worked perfectly when cut on?

Planners tend to be a pessimistic bunch, with good reason, when it comes to reliability. What do you think the odds are of every missile we have igniting, launching successfully, and sending every one of those independent re-entry vehicles on their way with no problems? Planners have to plan for rockets not to launch, problems with the re-entry vehicles, and the fact that a number of the bombs are not going to detonate. They have to plan on planes not starting, having maintenance issues in flight, and that some of their bombs may be duds. Same considerations apply to submarines as well. Also don’t forget that they do have to plan for anti-missile defenses as well.

So, as you look at targets and targeting, keep in mind that a target may get hit multiple times to be sure it is taken out. Trick is, making sure that all the weapons don’t hit too close together, as that tends to work in the targets favor courtesy of one presentation of nuclear fratricide. Multiple hits by multiple means ensures that the target is hit at least once, and odds favor more than once. For example, Washington D.C. could be hit by a sea-launched missile, which if launched off the coast could arrive in 8-15 minutes — not a lot of time. Yes, I’m ignoring for now that DC actually has multiple targets within it. The DC area even more. Sea launched, ground-launched, and aircraft will be headed there. Let’s get people thinking about the unthinkable, then add in the details later when they are better able to handle it.

To end this on a somewhat lighter note, I’m going to bring up a point that may have been rather injudiciously brought up around those who were, possibly, easily offended.

In military operations, there is a concept of selective elimination, to be blunt assassination. The idea is to take out the enemy’s effective commanders and leave the less competent (complete incompetents) alone. However amusing, or true, it is not diplomatic to suggest that Vladimir wants to hurt us, not help us, and as such has elected not to destroy Washington D.C. and state capitals like Albany, Sacramento, Indianapolis, Olympia, Salem, or a few others. Thus concludes both targeting and today’s free diplomacy lesson.

Some Previous Posts:

Vladimir And The Ukraine

Answers, Ramblings, And A Bit More On Vladimir And The Ukraine

Your Must Read For The Day On Russia

The Puzzles In Play, And The Missing Pieces

Quick Thoughts On Ukraine/Putin

The Thing Behind The Curtain

Missing Pieces And Surprise Pieces

Thursday Update

Not A Lot To Add

Noted

Monday Update

Burn Notice

Accuracy, Reliability, And More

Putin, Trump, And The Coming Storm

Three Futures For Russia

Quick Thoughts

Saturday Update

Mismatched Locomotives

War, Ag, Demographics, And The Worst Is Yet To Come

Past, Present, And A Hungry Future

Huge Grain Of Salt

The Moskva

Retribution Inbound

Uncertainty And Preparation

Honest Question

Monday Morning Quick Brief

War Of The Memes

A Little Free Ice Cream

Rumors Of War

Three Times Is…

If It’s Wednesday, This Must Be Moldova

Going Nuclear

How To Spy On The Russians

Here’s Hoping I’m Wrong

Pins And Needles Time

Mock Away

Intel Wars

The Revenge Of HUMINT

A Funny Thing Happened

Rumors of Rumors

Ukraine, Uvalde, Oh My

Very Interesting


A Quick Russia/Ukraine Update

Russia/Ukraine/Lithuania

Hmmmm

Hmmmm Follow-Up

Ukraine/Russia Tidbit

If You Think

*****

Nuclear War Posts In Order:

Nuclear What?

Nuclear 101: Weapons

Nuclear 101: Delivery

Nuclear 101: Now What?

*****

If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, feel free to hit the tip jar in the upper right or the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo. Getting hit by lightning is not fun, and it is thanks to your help and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Nuclear 101: Now What?

It truly is the eternal question: Now What? In 1945, it was the question asked as we realized we were on the back of the bull/tiger/dragon/colorful metaphor of your choice and needed to hang on. It’s still the question today, and we will get to it here in time.

In 1945, the United States was the most powerful nation on Earth, with a temporary monopoly on the power of the atomic bomb. While some felt that we could hold onto that power indefinitely, reality as always intruded. The Soviets had known about the Manhattan Project from the start and were already at work on creating their own bombs. This was spurred along, no doubt, by reports that some were pushing to use the bomb to take out the Soviet Union, nip Mao in the bud, and do other world-cleaning events. There were indeed such pushes, given that both politicians and generals had been quite vocal about the need to go ahead and take on the Soviet Union with the conventional forces already in place in Europe.

In those early days, there was what we would now consider an amazing lack of knowledge about atomic weapons. Radiation, contamination, fallout, and more were learned about somewhat on the fly. Aside from the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, U.S. and Soviet troops were exposed to blasts, marched through blast zones within hours, and treated to other delights. A surprising number of military and civilian leadership/elites apparently truly thought there would be little to no effect on the troops, despite what was being seen in Japan with survivors. Yet others simply saw this as an opportunity to learn what would happen.

As it began to sink in that atomic munitions were not something to be used like extra-powerful conventional bombs, there came a spate of serious proposals that read like bad science fiction. Of course they wanted atomic-powered planes, rockets, and more. There were also serious proposals for armored/shielded land crawlers that would dwarf a Jawa sand crawler, giant robots, and more. It can be a lot of fun to go back and look at some of these proposals.

At the same time, strategic concepts were being developed for the use of atomic weapons. The ridiculous idea that they would pre-empt and prevent conventional war was quickly disproven by Korea and a host of smaller conflicts around the world. At the same time, people began to realize that as more countries got more and more bombs, that a nuclear war would be/could be devastating on a scale never before seen. Pretty much every country of any significance began upgrading its air defenses as planes were the primary means of delivery at that time. As rockets and missiles came to the fore, work began on anti-missile defenses.

As things progressed, concepts were developed for the use of weapons and fighting an atomic war. In some respects, the focus was on preventing the use of atomic weapons and limiting exchanges between parties (really between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.). Thus was developed the moral abomination of Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) which simply was that if the U.S. were attacked, we might be destroyed but we guarantee you will as well. Both sides had the means to destroy the other, potentially a few times over, and would do so at need. Since each side could do so, neither would attack the other. At least that was the theory, though it really didn’t consider independent powers that weren’t part of the two major power blocks. Worst, it put the safety of the world in the hands of the least stable leader with nukes.

Yet, planning continued on “limited” nuclear war and, to be honest, how to get around MAD and various treaties. After all, if you could come up with a way to take out your enemy’s atomic arms and/or the command and control of same, you’d win, wouldn’t you?

To get a better idea of the ideas involved, allow me to recommend reading Herman Kahn’s Thinking About The Unthinkable and Thinking About The Unthinkable In The 80s. There are other books out there, some of which are quite good, but these two capture a great deal of the philosophies of nuclear war, and avoiding same. NOTE: This is not an endorsement of or agreement with everything espoused by Herman Kahn. Agree or disagree, it is a fascinating window to this world.

They also provide a window into the concept of limited nuclear war. In such an event, only a small number of weapons — perhaps even only one — would be used and then both sides would stand down from further use of atomic weapons. Two problems, IMO, with that are human nature and clarity. Human nature says that even if a limited strike is executed on Country A by Country B, Country A is going to want to strike back and if they feel an existential threat they are going to be inclined to strike back as hard as possible. Clarity, in this case means that you know what you are doing and that you want to limit things, but the country you are attacking, and any allies, aren’t mind readers and are likely to be taking any announcements from you with a grain of salt. To be polite.

Is a single missile being launched a harmless weather sounding mission? Is it a satellite launch? Or, is it a Fractional Orbital Bombardment System (FOBS) that will detonate over the target country and take out pretty much all electronics with a burst of EMP so a surprise attack can be launched? Even the use of tactical devices on the battlefield runs a real risk of escalation. If one uses such against a city with military and political headquarters, you have just put your cities at risk.

It was the U.S. position for decades that the use of chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons would be regarded as first use of nuclear weapons, and would be responded to in kind. Those particular red lines have been severely eroded, which may have unfortunately emboldened enemies and given the concept of “escalate to de-escalate” an undeserved air of legitimacy. For those who are not regular readers, this is a Russian concept that they could use a special weapons/tactical device or devices on the battlefield and prevent retaliation by threatening to go strategic (full exchange) if anyone fires back. Sort of a ‘you know I’m crazy because I’ve used a nuke, if you retaliate I’m crazy enough to launch them all’ scenario. I have my doubts about how well that’s going to work…

Tomorrow, I think we discuss targeting and may start looking at some scenarios; but, for today, let’s close out with two very important considerations: Command and Control, and defenses.

Command and Control is how the President (or civilian authority in line of succession) gives orders to our nuclear forces. It’s also how the military shares information with the President, so he can make the decision(s) on how to respond to an event or events. There are such command and control systems/structures for every atomic power.

In the case of the U.S. we have bases, airborne command posts, and perhaps some other things devoted to detecting threats and responding to them. There are dedicated communications networks for these purposes, for all that the Chinese seem to be potentially trying to spoke them. No, I’m not happy about those Chinese land purchases that also seem to come with all sorts of interesting electronics, though I expect little to be done for now. Just keep in mind, as I’ve noted before, the majority of our detection systems are older tech and focused pretty much entirely on ballistic missiles. Much broader threat envelope today…

The Russians also have detection, command posts, and airborne command posts. However, the Soviet Union back in the day realized the communications nets sucked so they devised a system to work around it. For all that we joke about the President pushing the button, the Soviet-now-Russian system is pretty close to that. It has an official name (Perimeter) but is best known as “Dead Hand.” The idea being that a dead hand can still launch a retaliatory strike.

I wrote about the system before at Blackfive years back (can’t find the link, sadly) but the basics are that the system monitors cities, seismic data, and more and if it detects information indicating an attack on Russia, a duty officer is notified and they can decide next steps. Also, if they get the launch orders from the special control system that is usually near Putin (or previous leaders), they can act. Either way, they make a decision on target packages and then launch a missile that as it rises up broadcasts a radio signal to the nuclear armed forces that gives them the launch orders. Once that rocket goes up, the Russian missiles will launch. Which is why we should all celebrate Col. Stanislav Petrov, who when a major warning system malfunctioned, made the decision to ignore the false information and prevented 1983 from being the year of WWIII. The system also came close to being activated by Boris Yeltsin when a weather rocket launched from Norway was mistaken for a first strike.

The British, French, Chinese, and others all have their systems and those systems reflect their governments. With the British, we have a good deal of sharing and it used to be fairly common to see British liaison officers at NORAD and other facilities I’m told.

Now, a little on defense. While Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) systems get a lot of play, there are a variety of options. Passive defenses include bunkers, such as The Hole or Cheyenne Mountain Complex. Active defenses can include ABMs, projectile systems, or potentially space-based systems. Work on lasers and other directed energy devices is advancing according to industry publications and RUMINT. For a number of reasons, I’m not able to comment on a lot on this work, but will admit I find it frustrating when told (usually by an over-educated idiot) that some or all of it won’t work. You might look up Dean Ing’s discussion on accidentally directly intercepting a missile in flight. It was decades ago, and the idea apparently was to have a near miss so they could get the data to allow a direct hit. Ooops.

Sadly, a lot of our defensive efforts have been prevented/gutted/etc. by people who seem to feel it is immoral and improper to defend yourself. Or possibly because they agree with the enemy. I do wonder some days. And, yes, there is a group that feels that because of MAD we have a moral duty to die without defending ourselves since that might undermine MAD. My thoughts on them I leave to your imaginations.

Some Previous Posts:

Vladimir And The Ukraine

Answers, Ramblings, And A Bit More On Vladimir And The Ukraine

Your Must Read For The Day On Russia

The Puzzles In Play, And The Missing Pieces

Quick Thoughts On Ukraine/Putin

The Thing Behind The Curtain

Missing Pieces And Surprise Pieces

Thursday Update

Not A Lot To Add

Noted

Monday Update

Burn Notice

Accuracy, Reliability, And More

Putin, Trump, And The Coming Storm

Three Futures For Russia

Quick Thoughts

Saturday Update

Mismatched Locomotives

War, Ag, Demographics, And The Worst Is Yet To Come

Past, Present, And A Hungry Future

Huge Grain Of Salt

The Moskva

Retribution Inbound

Uncertainty And Preparation

Honest Question

Monday Morning Quick Brief

War Of The Memes

A Little Free Ice Cream

Rumors Of War

Three Times Is…

If It’s Wednesday, This Must Be Moldova

Going Nuclear

How To Spy On The Russians

Here’s Hoping I’m Wrong

Pins And Needles Time

Mock Away

Intel Wars

The Revenge Of HUMINT

A Funny Thing Happened

Rumors of Rumors

Ukraine, Uvalde, Oh My

Very Interesting


A Quick Russia/Ukraine Update

Russia/Ukraine/Lithuania

Hmmmm

Hmmmm Follow-Up

Ukraine/Russia Tidbit

If You Think

Nuclear What?

*****

Nuclear War Posts In Order:

Nuclear What?

Nuclear 101: Weapons

Nuclear 101: Delivery

*****

If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, feel free to hit the tip jar in the upper right or the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo. Getting hit by lightning is not fun, and it is thanks to your help and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.