Here are the most likely US targets for a nuclear attack
Since the Cold War, the US and Russia have drawn up plans on how to best wage nuclear war against each other — but while large population centers with huge cultural impact may seem like obvious choices, a smarter nuclear attack would focus on countering the enemy’s nuclear forces.
So while people in New York City or Los Angeles may see themselves as being in the center of the world, in terms of nuclear-target priorities, they’re not as important as places in states like North Dakota or Montana.
Stephen Schwartz, the author of “Atomic Audit: The Costs and Consequences of US Nuclear Weapons Since 1940,” says that after the Cold War, the US and Russia shifted from targeting each other’s most populous cities to targeting each other’s nuclear stockpiles.
This map shows the essential points Russia would have to attack to wipe out the US’s nuclear forces, according to Schwartz:
This map represents targets for an all-out attack on the US’s fixed nuclear infrastructure, weapons, and command and control centers — but even a massive strike like this wouldn’t guarantee anything.
“It’s exceedingly unlikely that such an attack would be fully successful,” Schwartz told Business Insider. “There’s an enormous amount of variables in pulling off an attack like this flawlessly, and it would have to be flawless. If even a handful of weapons escape, the stuff you missed will be coming back at you.”
Even if every single US intercontinental ballistic missile silo, stockpiled nuclear weapon, and nuclear-capable bomber were flattened, US nuclear submarines could — and would — retaliate.
According to Schwartz, at any given time, the US has four to five nuclear-armed submarines “on hard alert, in their patrol areas, awaiting orders for launch.” Even high-ranking officials in the US military don’t know where the silent submarines are, and there’s no way Russia could chase them all down before they fired back, which Schwartz said could be done in as little as five to 15 minutes.
But even a strike on a relatively sparsely populated area could lead to death and destruction across the US, depending on how the wind blew. That’s because of fallout.
The US has strategically positioned the bulk of its nuclear forces, which double as nuclear targets, far from population centers. But if you happen to live next to an ICBM silo, fear not.
There’s a “0.0 percent chance” that Russia could hope to survive an act of nuclear aggression against the US, according to Schwartz.
So while we all live under a nuclear “sword of Damocles,” Schwartz said, people in big cities like New York and Los Angeles most likely shouldn’t worry about being struck by a nuclear weapon.
- 'Rocket man is on a suicide mission': Trump threatens to 'totally destroy North Korea' in major UN speech
- Mattis hints at secret 'kinetic' military options for North Korea
- Trump calls Iran deal 'an embarrassment' in UN speech, warns 'I don't think you've heard the last of it'
- 'We are a service that is too small': The Air Force is under strain and looking at some major shakeups
- It's the US Air Force's 70th birthday — here are 27 photos of it doing what it does best
- US officials are raising alarm over Colombia's cocaine boom, but they may be 'missing most of the picture'
This is how Japan plans to hunt enemy subs
Japan decided to build a custom maritime patrol plane instead of converting and airliner - and the P-1 could blow away the competition.
This company owns a private fleet of aerial refueling tankers
Omega Air Refueling claims to be the only private air refueling service in the world.
VA chief fires head of department hospital in DC — again
The Department of Veterans Affairs says it's fired Brian Hawkins -- once again -- citing audits that found mismanagement at the facility.
This Special Forces medic's bravery in Vietnam has earned him the Medal of Honor
President Trump will award the Medal of Honor to retired Army medic Gary M. Rose who risked his life to provide care to his comrades in the Vietnam War.
These American WWII vets were awarded France's highest honor
Ten California men who fought overseas with the US forces have been awarded the French government's highest honor for their World War II service.
5 more epic military movie mistakes you have missed
With so many important aspects to pay attention to, filmmakers commonly make mistakes. Luckily we've brought our government-provided attention to detail!
The Air Force is getting ready to deploy this fearsome new gunship
The USAF plans to declare its newest gunship, the AC-130J Ghostrider, ready for combat this month, but the aircraft won’t actually deploy for a few years.
Turkey raises alarm with purchase of Russian-made S-400 missile system
Turkey finalized its purchase of the Russian-made S-400 surface-to-air missile system earlier this month, which can be used against NATO and US planes.
This is what the Afghans think of America's new war plan
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said the new US strategy in Afghanistan stands a better chance of working than previous plans.
THE MIGHTY SURVEY GIVE-AWAY
We want to hear your thoughts. Complete our survey for a chance to win 1 of 5 gaming consoles