What was the Strategic Defence Initiative?

Introduction The Strategic Defence Initiative (SDI), nicknamed the “Star Wars programme”, was a proposed missile defence system intended to protect the United States from attack by ballistic strategic nuclear weapons (intercontinental ballistic missiles and submarine-launched ballistic missiles). The concept was first announced on 23 March 1983 by President Ronald Reagan, a vocal critic of the… Read More


What was Operation RYaN (1981)

Introduction Operation RYAN (or RYaN, Russian: РЯН, IPA: [rʲæn]) was a Cold War military intelligence programme run by the Soviet Union during the early 1980s when they believed the United States was planning for an imminent first strike attack. The name is an acronym for Raketno-Yadernoe Napadenie (Russian: Ракетно-ядерное нападение, “Nuclear Missile Attack”). The purpose… Read More

What was Able Archer 83?

Introduction Able Archer 83 is the codename for a command post exercise carried out in November 1983 by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). As with Able Archer exercises from previous years, the purpose of the exercise was to simulate a period of conflict escalation, culminating in the US military attaining a simulated DEFCON 1… Read More

What is the Underground City (Beijing)?

Introduction The Underground City (Chinese: 地下城; pinyin: Dìxià Chéng) is a Cold War era bomb shelter consisting of a network of tunnels located beneath Beijing, China. It has also been referred to as the Underground Great Wall since it was built for the purpose of military defence. The complex was constructed from 1969 to 1979… Read More

Developing a New Method to Confirm the Absence or Presence of Nuclear Weapons & Fissile Materials

Research Paper Title A physical unclonable neutron sensor for nuclear arms control inspections. Background Classical sensor security relies on cryptographic algorithms executed on trusted hardware. This approach has significant shortcomings, however. Hardware can be manipulated, including below transistor level, and cryptographic keys are at risk of extraction attacks. A further weakness is that sensor media… Read More

What is the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty?

Introduction The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is a multilateral treaty that bans all nuclear tests, for both civilian and military purposes, in all environments. It was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 September 1996, but has not entered into force, as eight specific nations have not ratified the treaty. Brief History The… Read More

What is Exercise Spade Fork?

Introduction Federal Emergency Plan D-Minus was a plan developed by the United States of America (US) in the 1950’s to guide the federal government in the immediate aftermath of a catastrophic nuclear attack. Plan D-Minus was part of the National Plan for Emergency Preparedness, which also included Mobilisation Plan C (providing direction for federal planning… Read More