Nuclear target structures

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Nuclear target structures is part of the nuclear related military strategies and concepts developed during the Cold War and still in use in the 21st century. The term refers to sites that an enemy nuclear power is likely major targets to send nuclear weapons to during a first strike or retaliation/defensive strike. This attack procedure is for using nuclear weapons in the event that a hostile threat that cannot be subjugated by using conventional forces or that a hostile nation has used weapons of mass destruction against a sovereign state.

Because nation state nuclear target structures may have changed since the end of the Cold War, it is difficult to predict with certainty what targets Russia, China, North Korea, or Pakistan might have selected in the United States. However, targeting should be similar to what was predicted in the early 1990s.

Fallout patterns from a first strike upon our retaliatory assets might look devastating.

Department of Defense De-Classified TR-82 "High Risk Areas" Report

Much of the target structure location research here is based on numerous published sources,[1] but especially the U.S. DoD's de-classified TR-82 "High Risk Areas" report. This report contains a fairly comprehensive list of ICBM and nuclear payload bomber targets that has been generated by military intelligence.

Primary Targets

These "first strike" targets are mostly missile silos, bomber bases, submarine bases, and command and control (C2) centers. The enemy must neutralize these assets immediately to prevent or minimize nuclear retaliation.

Secondary Targets

Secondary targets refers to major military, industrial, governmental, and transportation centers. Also included are seaports, locks and dams. These may be hit at once by the first missiles or struck by the bombers that will follow.

Tertiary Targets

These are population and industrial centers that probably wouldn't be hit in the first strikes but would be high on the lists for later destruction to further cripple America's ability to fight a prolonged war and/or recover and function as a nation. Threats against these targets could also be used following the initial attacks to force our leadership to capitulate.

British nuclear response

The British Navy operate four ballistic missile submarines as their main nuclear deterrent. Each captain has a letter from the current prime minister giving them instructions in the event of an attack by a hostile force. These are called the Letters of last resort.


  • "They all hate us anyhow, so let's drop the big one now..." - Excerpted lyrics from "Political science" by Randy Newman

See also

Bibliography and further reading

External links


  1. Nuclear Country Profile, Washington, DC: Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), Last updated: May, 2014. Accessed January 15, 2015