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Published by mwjackso
Written for Warren College Honors Program - this paper on MAD is a fun read and also concerns issues that may once again be raised concerning North Korea
Written for Warren College Honors Program - this paper on MAD is a fun read and also concerns issues that may once again be raised concerning North Korea

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Published by: mwjackso on Apr 04, 2009
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Michael W. JacksonA02-92-6779Warren 11A19 October 1999
estruction:Is it an effective form of deterrence in today's post cold war society?"Duck and Cover!" is shouted throughout the halls of the school in the Midwest.The students hide under their desks and cover their necks to protect themselves from thenuclear explosion. This was the world of the 1950's elementary school pupil. The threatof an all out nuclear war was a possibility in the collective psyche of all Americans.Society today, however, feels secure in the belief that the threat of nuclear war is not amajor concern. The vehicle that has brought about this change is the central dogma of  peace in today's society. Mutual Assured Destruction (M.A.D.) is the weapon of deterrence from the minds of men that has secured a peace for all time. Has M.A.D.secured peace for all time or is it on a slippery slope into oblivion, and with it the threatof nuclear annihilation will rise from its ashes. The support of M.A.D. is found in therealization of the timetable of an attack, counter value versus counter force theories, andthe readiness of the nuclear arsenal. The detractors to this deterrent are development of flexible response theory, 1st strike weapons, and the susceptibility of the nuclear arsenalto computer warfare. MAD is an effective form of deterrence that will secure peace for generations to come.Self-preservation is the definition of support for M.A.D policy founded by JohnFoster Dulles. This is seen as the common thread that links the three main arguments of 
effectiveness: timetable to destruction, counter force versus counter value theory, andreadiness of the nuclear arsenal. The elapsed time to impact has greatly decreased in the period from 1945 to present, varying from 12 hours to a matter of 30 minutes (Gay 26-27). The civil defense policy of nuclear America has changed greatly in response to thediminished amount of time it takes for a nuclear bomb to hit our shores. The CivilDefense Act of 1950 instated an evacuation plan of major urban areas in which there wasa 12-hour period before the B-2 bomber would unload its payload. The introduction of Sputnik was a shock to the security of the free world. Sputnik displayed the ability of acountry to reach the United States in a relatively miniscule amount of time. Theintroduction of Inter-continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM's) now moved civil defensetheory into the realm of fallout shelters and a decisive effort to avoid the mass destructionof our society. In 1979, the Crisis Relocation Program was initiated where if a globalconflict was imminent the days preceding the war would allow for evacuation of the populated regions or targets (Gay 27). The construction of these theories was not onlyfor safety reasons but to sustain the appearance of a creditable threat.The second issue, counter force versus counter value focuses on the targets of anuclear bomb. The nuclear age opened the realm of targets to civilians and property i.e.not just military and defense facilities. Counter force is associated with the positioning of nuclear warheads at military facilities. Counter value is the use of warhead positioning todestroy the population and the economic infrastructure of a nation and resources that may become necessary in a post apocalyptic world (Dauber 75). The counter society theory isa factor in the continued success of M.A.D., as it is the duty of the leaders of nations to protect their citizenry to maintain the power they crave. The desire to live and the desire
to maintain power, be it the ability to decide the future of your life or to take your country to the final war is a cautionary tale that keeps the peace.Will the arsenal be prepared for war if a worldwide test ban is proposed andaccepted? The Lawrence Livermore Laboratory is confident on the readiness of thestockpile and does not see a need for continued testing of nuclear weapons. The issueaddressed in the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory report is focused on the realization thatwe can keep the threat alive during a Low-Threshold Test Ban or Comprehensive TestBan (R. E. Kidder). The nuclear stability of this nation is well protected and significanceis given to the triad defense system that plays an important role in the maintenance of thethreat of war (Dauber 34). Triad is the assurance of a three-pronged nuclear arsenal bywhich all branches of the armed services have nuclear capability. These three threatsmaintain the security and peace that is inherent in M.A.D. allowing the threat on nuclear war to remain a minimal issue in the minds of the average American.The M.A.D. philosophy however has not survived unscathed by attempts todissolve its focus: War will kill everyone. The thought of a loss of power within theinternational realm has lead American Presidents from Nixon to Reagan to pursue aflexible response to a nuclear attack. The predecessor to Star Wars was the AntiballisticMissile (ABM). This missile was the result of a program developed prior to the Reaganyears, and was quickly placed off limits by treaties to maintain the threat of M.A.D. Thegreatest move towards flexible response is seen in the Star Wars program of the ReaganAdministration. The purpose of Star Wars was to develop a system in which the U.S.could regain its foothold as the supreme world power. The hope of Reagan was a nuclear umbrella that would destroy any ICBM nuclear threat. The system, however, placed thetwo superpowers at odds with one another and moved the nation closer to war. The fatal

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