What is a Cobalt Bomb?

Introduction A cobalt bomb is a type of “salted bomb”: a nuclear weapon designed to produce enhanced amounts of radioactive fallout, intended to contaminate a large area with radioactive material, potentially for the purpose of radiological warfare, mutual assured destruction or as doomsday devices. Brief History The concept of a cobalt bomb was originally described… Read More


What was the Emergency Rocket Communication System?

Introduction The AN/DRC-8 Emergency Rocket Communications System (ERCS) was designed to provide a reliable and survivable emergency communications method for the United States National Command Authority, using a UHF repeater placed atop a Blue Scout rocket or Minuteman II intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). ERCS was deactivated as a communication means when President George H.W. Bush… Read More

What is Dead Hand?

Introduction Dead Hand (Russian: Система «Периметр», Systema “Perimetr”, lit. “Perimeter” System, with the GRAU Index 15E601, Cyrillic: 15Э601), also known as Perimeter, is a Cold War-era automatic nuclear weapons-control system (similar in concept to the American AN/DRC-8 Emergency Rocket Communications System) that was used by the Soviet Union. The system remains in use in the… Read More

What was the Norwegian Rocket Incident (1995)?

Introduction The Norwegian rocket incident, also known as the Black Brant scare, occurred on 25 January 1995 when a team of Norwegian and US scientists launched a Black Brant XII four-stage sounding rocket from the Andøya Rocket Range off the northwestern coast of Norway. The rocket carried scientific equipment to study the aurora borealis over… Read More

What is the Doomsday Clock?

Introduction The Doomsday Clock is a symbol that represents the likelihood of a man-made global catastrophe. Maintained since 1947 by the members of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the clock is a metaphor for threats to humanity from unchecked scientific and technical advances. The clock represents the hypothetical global catastrophe as midnight and the… Read More

What was the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (1987-2019)?

Introduction The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty, formally Treaty Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Elimination of Their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles; Russian: Договор о ликвидации ракет средней и меньшей дальности / ДРСМД, Dogovor o likvidatsiy raket sredney i menshey dalnosti / DRSMD) was an… Read More

What was Policy Paper NSC 162/2?

Introduction NSC 162/2 was a policy paper of the United States National Security Council approved by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on 30 October 1953 which defined the Cold War national security policy during the Eisenhower administration. NSC 162/2 was based upon NSC 162, which was the final synthesis of the task force reports of Project… Read More