Mutual assured destruction (MAD; sometimes written as mutually assured destruction) is a doctrine of military strategy in which a full-scale use of nuclear weapons by two opposing sides would effectively result in the destruction of both the attacker and the defender. Doctrine (Latin doctrina) is a codification of beliefs or "a body of teachings quot or "instructions" taught principles or positions as the A Strategy is a long term plan of action designed to achieve a particular goal, most often "winning A nuclear weapon is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from Nuclear reactions either fission or a combination of fission and fusion.  It is based on the theory of deterrence according to which the deployment of strong weapons is essential to threaten the enemy in order to prevent the use of the very same weapons. This article refers to deterrent theories of punishment For the legal theory of justice see Deterrence (legal. The strategy is effectively a form of Nash equilibrium, in which both sides are attempting to avoid their worst possible outcome—nuclear annihilation. In Game theory, the Nash equilibrium (named after John Forbes Nash, who proposed it is a Solution concept of a game involving two or more players in which A doomsday device is a hypothetical construction &mdash usually a weapon &mdash which could destroy all life on the Earth, or destroy the Earth itself (bringing "
The doctrine assumes that each side has enough nuclear weaponry to destroy the other side and that either side, if attacked for any reason by the other, would retaliate with equal or greater force. The expected result is an immediate escalation resulting in both combatants' total and assured destruction. Assured destruction is a concept sometimes used in Game theory and similar discussions to describe a condition where certain behaviors or choices are deterred because they will It is now generally assumed that the nuclear fallout or nuclear winter resulting from a large scale nuclear war would bring about worldwide devastation, though this was not a critical assumption to the theory of MAD. Fallout is the residual radiation hazard from a Nuclear explosion, so named because it "falls out" of the atmosphere into which it is spread during the explosion Nuclear winter is a term that describes the climatic effects of nuclear war. A doomsday event is a specific occurrence which has an exceptionally destructive effect on the human race
The doctrine further assumes that neither side will dare to launch a first strike because the other side will launch on warning (also called fail-deadly) or with secondary forces (second strike) resulting in the destruction of both parties. In Nuclear strategy, a first strike is a preemptive surprise attack employing overwhelming force Launch on warning is a nuclear strategy which came about during the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. Fail-deadly is a concept in nuclear Military strategy which encourages deterrence by guaranteeing an immediate automatic and overwhelming response In Nuclear strategy, second strike capability is a country's assured ability to respond to a nuclear attack with powerful nuclear retaliation against the attacker The payoff of this doctrine is expected to be a tense but stable peace.
The primary application of this doctrine started during the Cold War (1950s to 1990s) in which MAD was seen as helping to prevent any direct full-scale conflicts between the United States and the Soviet Union while they engaged in smaller proxy wars around the world. Cold War is the state of conflict tension and competition that existed between the United States and the Soviet Union (USSR and their respective allies from the The United States of America —commonly referred to as the The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR was a constitutionally Socialist state that existed in Eurasia from 1922 to 1991 A proxy war is the war that results when two powers use third parties as substitutes for fighting each other directly It was also responsible for the arms race, as both nations struggled to keep nuclear parity, or at least retain second-strike capability. The term arms race, in its original usage describes a competition between two or more parties for real or apparent military supremacy In Nuclear strategy, second strike capability is a country's assured ability to respond to a nuclear attack with powerful nuclear retaliation against the attacker Although the Cold War ended in the early 1990s, the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction certainly continues to be in force although it has receded from public discourse.
Proponents of MAD as part of U. S. and USSR strategic doctrine believed that nuclear war could best be prevented if neither side could expect to survive a full scale nuclear exchange (as a functioning state). Since the credibility of the threat is critical to such assurance, each side had to invest substantial capital in their nuclear arsenals even if they were not intended for use. In Economics, capital or capital Goods or real capital refers to items of extensive value In addition, neither side could be expected or allowed to adequately defend itself against the other's nuclear missiles. This led both to the hardening and diversification of nuclear delivery systems (such as nuclear missile silos, ballistic missile submarines and nuclear bombers kept at fail-safe points) and to the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. A missile silo is an underground vertical cylindrical container for the storage and launching of intercontinental ballistic missiles ( ICBMs. A ballistic missile submarine is a Submarine equipped to launch Ballistic missiles ( SLBMs) A bomber is a Military aircraft designed to attack ground and sea targets primarily by dropping Bombs on them Fail-safe or fail-secure describes a device or feature which in the event of failure, responds in a way that will cause no harm or at least a minimum of harm The Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty ( ABM Treaty or ABMT) was a treaty between the United States of America and the Soviet Union on the limitation
This MAD scenario is often referred to as nuclear deterrence. The term deterrence was first used in this context after World War II; prior to that time, its use was limited to legal terminology. World War II, or the Second World War, (often abbreviated WWII) was a global military conflict which involved a majority of the world's nations, including
Perhaps the earliest reference to the concept comes from the English author Wilkie Collins, writing at the time of the Franco-Prussian war in 1870: "I begin to believe in only one civilising influence—the discovery one of these days of a destructive agent so terrible that War shall mean annihilation and men's fears will force them to keep the peace". William Wilkie Collins ( 8 January 1824 &ndash 23 September 1889) was an English Novelist, Playwright, and The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War, often referred to in France as the 1870 War ( 19 July, 1870 — 10 May, 1871
Echoes of the doctrine can be found in the first document which outlined how the atomic bomb was a practical proposition. In March 1940, the Frisch-Peierls memorandum anticipated deterrence as the principal means of combating an enemy with nuclear weapons. The Frisch-Peierls memorandum was written by Otto Frisch and Rudolf Peierls while they were both working at Birmingham University, England and given
In August 1945, the United States accepted the surrender of Japan after the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic Japan topics. The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were nuclear attacks near the end of World War II against the Empire of Japan by the United States at Four years later, on August 29, 1949, the Soviet Union detonated its own nuclear weapon. Events 708 - Copper coins are minted in Japan for the first time (Traditional Japanese date: August 10, 708) Year 1949 ( MCMXLIX) was a Common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR was a constitutionally Socialist state that existed in Eurasia from 1922 to 1991 At the time, both sides lacked the means to effectively use nuclear devices against each other. However, with the development of aircraft like the Convair B-36, both sides were gaining a greater ability to deliver nuclear weapons into the interior of the opposing country. The official nuclear policy of the United States was one of "massive retaliation", as coined by President Dwight D. Eisenhower's Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, which called for massive attack against the Soviet Union if they were to invade Europe, regardless of whether it was a conventional or a nuclear attack. Massive retaliation, also known as a massive response or massive deterrence, is a Military doctrine and Nuclear strategy in which a state commits Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower (October 14 1890 – March 28 1969 was President of the United States from 1953 until 1961 and a five-star general John Foster Dulles ( February 25, 1888 &ndash May 24, 1959) served as U
During the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Soviet Union truly developed an understanding of the effectiveness of the U. The Cuban Missile Crisis was a confrontation between the United States, the Soviet Union, and Cuba during the Cold War. S. ballistic missile submarine forces, and work on Soviet ballistic missile submarines began in earnest. For the remainder of the Cold War, although official positions on MAD changed in the United States, the consequences of the second strike from ballistic missile submarines was never in doubt.
The multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicle (MIRV) was another weapons system designed specifically to aid with the MAD nuclear deterrence doctrine. A multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle ( MIRV) is a collection of Nuclear weapons carried on a single Intercontinental ballistic missile With a MIRV payload, one ICBM could hold many separate warheads. MIRVs were first created by the United States in order to counterbalance Soviet anti-ballistic missile systems around Moscow. Since each defensive missile could only be counted on to destroy one offensive missile, making each offensive missile have, for example, three warheads (as with early MIRV systems) meant that three times as many defensive missiles were needed for each offensive missile. This made defending against missile attacks more costly and difficult. One of the largest U. S. MIRVed missiles, the LGM-118A Peacekeeper, could hold up to 10 warheads, each with a yield of around 300 kilotons—all together, an explosive payload equivalent to 230 Hiroshima-type bombs. Units of mass There are three similar units of Mass called the ton: Long ton (simply ton in countries such as the United Little Boy was the Codename of the Atomic bomb, developed via the "Manhattan Project" which was dropped on Hiroshima, on August 6 1945 by the The multiple warheads made defense untenable with the technology available, leaving only the threat of retaliatory attack as a viable defensive option. MIRVed land-based ICBMs are considered destabilizing because they tend to put a premium on striking first. It is because of this that this type of weapon was banned under the START II agreement. START II, the St rategic A rms R eduction T reaty, which was signed by United States President George H
In the event of a Soviet conventional attack on Western Europe, NATO planned to use tactical nuclear weapons. Western Europe at its most general meaning means 'all the countries in the West of Europe ' The North Atlantic Treaty A tactical nuclear weapon (or TNW) refers to a Nuclear weapon which is designed to be used on a battlefield in military situations The Soviet Union countered this threat by issuing a statement that any use of nuclear weapons against Soviet forces, tactical or otherwise, was grounds for a full-scale Soviet retaliatory strike. As such, it was generally assumed that any combat in Europe would end with apocalyptic conclusions.
It was only with the advent of ballistic missile submarines, starting with the George Washington class in 1959, that a survivable nuclear force became possible and second strike capability credible. Boats (SSBN-598 USS ''George Washington'' (SSBN-599 USS ''Patrick Henry'' (SSBN-600 USS ''Theodore Roosevelt'' Survivability is the ability to remain alive or continue to exist This was not fully understood until the 1960s when the strategy of mutually assured destruction was first fully described, largely by United States Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. Robert Strange McNamara (born June 9 1916 in Oakland, California) is an American business executive and former United States Secretary of Defense
In McNamara's formulation, MAD meant that nuclear nations either had first strike or second strike capability. A nation with first strike capability would be able to destroy the entire nuclear arsenal of another nation and thus prevent any nuclear retaliation. Second strike capability indicated that a nation could uphold a promise to respond to a nuclear attack with enough force to make such a first attack highly undesirable. According to McNamara, the arms race was in part an attempt to make sure that no nation gained first strike capability.
An early form of second strike capability had already been provided by the use of continual patrols of nuclear-equipped bombers, with a fixed number of planes always in the air (and therefore untouchable by a first strike) at any given time. The use of this tactic was reduced however, by the high logistic difficulty of keeping enough planes active at all times, and the increasing priority given to ICBMs over bombers (which might be shot down by air defenses before reaching their targets).
Ballistic missile submarines established a second strike capability through their stealth and by the number fielded by each Cold War adversary—it was highly unlikely that all of them could be targeted and preemptively destroyed (in contrast to, for example, a missile bunker with a fixed location that could be targeted during a first strike). Given their long range, high survivability and ability to carry many medium- and long-range nuclear missiles, submarines were a credible means for retaliation even after a massive first strike. Survivability is the ability to remain alive or continue to exist
The original doctrine of U. S. MAD was modified on July 25, 1980, with U. Events 285 - Diocletian appoints Maximian as Caesar, co-ruler Year 1980 ( MCMLXXX) was a Leap year starting on Tuesday (link displays the 1980 Gregorian calendar) S. President Jimmy Carter's adoption of countervailing strategy with Presidential Directive 59. James Earl "Jimmy" Carter Jr (born October 1 1924 was the thirty-ninth President of the United States, serving from 1977 to 1981 and the recipient of the 2002 Presidential directives are a form of executive order issued by the President of the United States with the advice and consent of the National Security Council According to its architect, Secretary of Defense Harold Brown, "countervailing strategy" stressed that the planned response to a Soviet attack was no longer to bomb Russian population centers and cities primarily, but first to kill the Soviet leadership, then attack military targets, in the hope of a Russian surrender before total destruction of the USSR (and the United States). Harold Brown (born September 19, 1927) American scientist was U This modified version of MAD was seen as a winnable nuclear war, while still maintaining the possibility of assured destruction for at least one party. This policy was further developed by the Reagan Administration with the announcement of the Strategic Defense Initiative (nicknamed "Star Wars"), the goal of which was to develop space-based technology to destroy Soviet missiles before they reached the U. The Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI was a proposal by US President Ronald Reagan on March 23, 1983 to use ground and space-based systems to protect S.
SDI was criticized by both the Soviets and many of America's allies (including Margaret Thatcher) because, were it ever operational and effective, it would have undermined the "assured destruction" required for MAD. Margaret Hilda Thatcher Baroness Thatcher LG, OM, PC, FRS (born 13 October 1925 If America had a guarantee against Soviet nuclear attacks, its critics argued, it would have first strike capability which would have been a politically and militarily destabilizing position. Critics further argued that it could trigger a new arms race, this time to develop countermeasures for SDI. Despite its promise of nuclear safety, SDI was described by many of its critics (including Soviet nuclear physicist and later peace activist Andrei Sakharov) as being even more dangerous than MAD because of these political implications. Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov (Андре́й Дми́триевич Са́харов (May 21 1921 – December 14 1989 was an eminent Soviet nuclear Physicist
The fall of the Soviet Union has reduced tensions between Russia and the United States and between the United States and China. China ( Wade-Giles ( Mandarin) Chung¹kuo² is a cultural region, an ancient Civilization, and depending on perspective a National The administration of George W. Bush withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in June 2002, claiming that the limited national missile defense system which they propose to build is designed only to prevent nuclear blackmail by a state with limited nuclear capability and is not planned to alter the nuclear posture between Russia and the United States. George Walker Bush ( born July 6 1946 is the forty-third and current President of the United States. Nuclear Blackmail is a form of Nuclear strategy in which an aggressor uses the threat of use of Nuclear weapons to force an adversary to perform
While relations have improved and an intentional nuclear exchange is increasingly unlikely, the decay in Russian nuclear capability in the post Cold War era has had an effect on the continued viability of the MAD doctrine. An article by Keir Lieber and Daryl Press stated that the United States could carry out a nuclear first strike on Russia and would "have a good chance of destroying every Russian bomber base, submarine, and ICBM. " This was attributed to reductions in Russian nuclear stockpiles and the increasing inefficiency and age of that which remains. Lieber and Press argued that the MAD era is coming to an end and that U. S. is on the cusp of global nuclear primacy. 
However, in a follow up article in the same publication, others criticized the analysis, including Peter Flory, the U. S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy, who began by writing "The essay by Keir Lieber and Daryl Press contains so many errors, on a topic of such gravity, that a Department of Defense response is required to correct the record. " Regarding reductions in Russian stockpiles, another response stated that "a similarly one-sided examination of [reductions in] U. S. forces would have painted a similarly dire portrait".
As usual, a situation in which the United States might actually be expected to carry out a "successful" attack is perceived as a disadvantage for both countries, since Russia might feel forced to attempt a similar action first.
An outline of current United States nuclear strategy toward both Russia and other nations was published as the document "Essentials of Post-Cold War Deterrence" in 1995. " Essentials of Post-Cold War Deterrence " is a document produced in 1995 as a "Terms of Reference" by the Policy Subcommittee of the Strategic Advisory Group (SAG of
Current nuclear strategy, however, continues upon the basis of mutual assured destruction, with most modern American politicians considering a rogue nuclear attack upon the United States as one deserving of a complete nuclear destruction of any country that assisted in said rogue attack.
Whether MAD was the officially accepted doctrine of the United States military during the Cold War is largely a matter of interpretation. The term MAD was not coined by the military but was, however, based on the policy of "Assured Destruction" advocated by U. S. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara during the 1960s. The United States Air Force, for example, has retrospectively contended that it never advocated MAD and that this form of deterrence was seen as one of numerous options in U. S. nuclear policy. Former officers have emphasized that they never felt as limited by the logic of MAD (and were prepared to use nuclear weapons in smaller scale situations than "Assured Destruction" allowed), and did not deliberately target civilian cities (though they acknowledge that the result of a "purely military" attack would certainly devastate the cities as well). MAD was implied in several U. S. policies and used in the political rhetoric of leaders in both the U. S. and the USSR during many periods of the Cold War.
To continue to deter in an era of strategic nuclear equivalence, it is necessary to have nuclear (as well as conventional) forces such that in considering aggression against our interests any adversary would recognize that no plausible outcome would represent a victory or any plausible definition of victory. To this end and so as to preserve the possibility of bargaining effectively to terminate the war on acceptable terms that are as favorable as practical, if deterrence fails initially, we must be capable of fighting successfully so that the adversary would not achieve his war aims and would suffer costs that are unacceptable, or in any event greater than his gains, from having initiated an attack.
– President Carter in 1980, Presidential Directive 59, Nuclear Weapons Employment Policy
Critics of the MAD doctrine note the similarity between the acronym and the common word for mental illness. Mental disorder or mental illness is a psychological or behavioral pattern that occurs in an individual and is thought to cause distress or disability that is not expected as The doctrine of nuclear deterrence depends on several challengeable assumptions:
Inability to defend