The Cold War is long over. But that doesn’t stop the USA being prepared for all out nuclear war. This map produced by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) shows likely targets for hypothetical enemies of the US in a nuclear conflict.
Perhaps most interesting is the difference between the 500 and 2000 warhead scenario. The 500 approach is clearly one aimed to eliminate the USA’s most valuable targets, that being population centres and areas of industry. A more retaliatory approach, aiming to do the most damage not necessarily waging effective nuclear war.
The 2000 approach is all about eliminating the USA’s nuclear capability. Perhaps illustrated most by the three clusters in the sparsely populated American mid-west.
The top left target in the Malmstrom Air Force Base (AFB) in Montana. The base had a significant role in the second world war and is one of the main bases which coordinates the US’s missile defence. Minot AFB in North Dakota is home of the 91st Missile Wing, one of the Air Force’s three intercontinental ballistic missile wings. Finally the Francis E. Warren AFB, which sits on the borders of Wyoming, Colorado and Nebraska is one of three Strategic Missile Bases in the United States. As well as being oldest continuously active military installation within the Air Force (est. 1887 as Fort David Allen Russell) it also house the Twentieth Air Force, which controls all of the Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) in the USA.
When a country is able of launching 2000 warheads, only them was it deemed possible to effectively nuclear wage war on the USA, with an aim to eliminate their capability to strike back.
Whilst the map provides an interesting insight into the tactics of nuclear war it somewhat dehumanise the end of the world scenario that a nuclear war would present.