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3 The Baseline Nuclear Exchange
Pages 13-16

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From page 13...
... In defining the baseline case, the committee has sought to establish a credible, generalized account of the extent of a possible general nuclear war in the mid-1980s; hence it is not necessary to specify the manner in which this general war might begin or might escalate from the initial use of nuclear weapons or to designate specific weapons for specific targets. United States and Soviet nuclear forces reportedly now include about 50,000 nuclear weapons, with a total yield of some 13,000 Mt.
From page 14...
... In a general nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union, the committee has assumed that all member nations of NATO and the Warsaw Pact would be involved and targeted for strategic weapons. The significance of this assumption to the study is that a number of targets located in urban areas, which are the major source of smoke, are found outside the United States and Soviet Union.
From page 15...
... This would be consistent with each side's attacking each of the other side's strategic missile silos with two weapons in order to improve the kill probability; multiple attacks on several hundred military and civilian airfields capable of sustaining redeployed strategic aircraft; multiple attacks on submarine and naval bases; extensive attacks against the central civilian and military command and control systems, the critical nodes in the military communications system and facilities necessary to exploit intelligence assets for real-time targeting and damage assessment; and multiple attacks on several hundred major theater military targets. The committee has assumed that each side would, as a second priority, attack the other's economic base necessary to sustain its .
From page 16...
... It is important to note that this weapons exchange assumes that all targets would have been chosen to have direct or indirect impact on the ability of the two sides to conduct or sustain military operations or to emerge from the hostilities in a superior position. No targets would be chosen to maximize worldwide population fatalities or long-term effects on the biosphere.

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