Date: August 3, 2003

To: Admiral James O. Ellis, Jr., Commander, U.S. Strategic Command

U.S. Strategic Command Headquarters, Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska

This is to serve notice that a Citizen Weapons Inspection Team requests entry to the Headquarters of U.S. Strategic Command. on August 3, 2003, to investigate the involvement of Strategic Command in the deployment and planning for use of nuclear weapons, the most dangerous of all weapons of mass destruction.

The inspection team has information that suggests that Strategic Command is engaging in activities aimed at increasing U.S. capabilities to employ nuclear weapons for a wide variety of military purposes, and, together with other agencies of the United States Government, is engaging in planning and research that may lead to nuclear weapons with new military capabilities.

The Citizen Weapons Inspection Team will arrive at the Kinney Gate of Offutt Air Force Base, where Strategic Command Headquarters is located, at approximately 10:00 a.m., where we will present evidence of weapons work obtained from open public sources. At that time we will also announce our intent to gain "immediate, unimpeded, unconditional, and unrestricted access to any and all, including underground, areas, facilities, buildings, equipment, records, and means of transport," we may wish to inspect, as well as "private access to all officials and other persons" whom we wish to interview "in the mode or location of" our choice. (1)

We do not seek to acquire justifiably secret information about the design details of existing or proposed nuclear weapons, or information which would compromise the safety or security of nuclear weapons.

On November 8, 2002, under the threat of unilateral military action by the United States, the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 1441, which afforded Iraq "a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations" by setting up "an enhanced inspection regime with the aim of bringing to full and verified completion the disarmament process" established by prior Security Council resolutions. Currently, the United States is demanding that both Iran and North Korea accede to stringent inspections to assure that nuclear programs are conducted in a manner consistent with their treaty obligations. We call for all states, either known or suspected of having nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction including the United States, to accept inspections of their own facilities on the same terms.

Numerous publicly available U.S. government documents make explicit the nuclear weapons mission of U.S. Strategic Command. The purpose of the Citizen Weapons Inspection Team visit is to investigate the scope and specifics of Strategic Command's current nuclear weapons activities, and to determine whether these activities are consistent with Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which entered into force and became U.S. law in 1970 and other nuclear disarmament commitments made by the United States. NPT Article VI reads: "Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control."

In July 1996, the International Court of Justice unanimously held that "There exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control." (2)

We note that at present there are no formal bi-lateral or multi-lateral negotiations underway with regard to nuclear disarmament. Further, there is extensive, well-documented evidence that, contrary to the promise of nuclear disarmament embodied by the NPT, the United States is pursuing efforts to make nuclear weapons more useable for a variety of military missions. These efforts include research on nuclear weapons with new military capabilities, research on nuclear weapons effects, and upgrades in the systems used to plan and execute nuclear strikes. U.S. Strategic Command numbers among its missions "global strike planning, and command and control support to deliver rapid, extended range, precision kinetic (nuclear and conventional) and non-kinetic (space and information operations effects in support of theater and national objectives." Strategic Command also "develops overarching policy to support execution of all the commands missions." (3) Consequently, U.S. Strategic Command is centrally involved in these efforts to develop new nuclear weapons capabilities, and in particular to make nuclear weapons more useable in warfare.

The January 2002 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) reaffirmed and enhanced the centrality of nuclear weapons in U.S. national security policy. Its basic thrust is to maintain maximum flexibility with regard to arsenal size and capabilities, with minimum treaty limitations. While unilateral cuts in deployed U.S. strategic arms are anticipated over the next 10 years, the capability to rapidly reconstitute the arsenal size is emphasized. The capability to modify existing nuclear weapons or develop new weapon types will be retained, along with an upgraded capacity to resume full scale underground nuclear tests. The policies declared in the NPR are designed to make the use of nuclear weapons more credible. The NPR relocates nuclear weapons within a broad spectrum of warfighting capabilities including not only missile defenses, but new military systems ranging from more sophisticated long range, accurate conventional missiles to weapons designed to disrupt or destroy electronic command, control, and air defense systems. The NPR also calls for the modernization of the research laboratories and production plants needed to design and build new nuclear warheads and other strategic weapons.

A 2001 report to Congress on defeat of hard and deeply buried targets claimed the "unique ability" of nuclear explosions to "destroy both agent containers and CBW [chemical and biological warfare] targets." It also claimed that if a nuclear warhead was very accurate and had sufficient ability to penetrate deep into the ground, "it is possible to employ a much lower yield to achieve the needed neutralization," which "would reduce weapon produced collateral effects." Existing weapons possess "some limited capability and lower yield options," but were "not developed with this mission in mind." (4) The report noted that "[c]omprehensive reviews of feasibility and cost for suitable nuclear and conventional weapons and their associated operations concepts" for defeat of weapons of mass destruction and associated facilities already were underway. (5) The Nuclear Posture Review added further support to the quest for new nuclear capabilities, stating that

There are several nuclear weapon options that might provide important advantages for enhancing the nation's deterrence posture: possible modifications to existing weapons to provide additional yield flexibility in the stockpile; improved earth penetrating weapons (EPWs) to counter the increased use by potential adversaries of hardened and deeply buried facilities; and warheads that reduce collateral damage. (6)

The NPR also indicated that the U.S. was prepared to use nuclear weapons in a wide range of circumstances and against a number of countries, including Iran, Iraq, and North Korea. The FY2003 Department of Energy budget request, submitted shortly after the NPR leaks became public, called for "advanced warhead concepts teams" at the nuclear weapons laboratories to study various new nuclear weapons ideas. (7) And the National Nuclear Security Agency requested funding in FY 2003 to begin study of a new or modified "Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator" (8)

Additional nuclear planning documents leaked to the public in early 2003, together with the administration's recent Defense Department bid solicitations and FY2004 budget submissions, reveal that the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator is only one of a number of modified or new nuclear weapons under consideration. A January 2003 Pentagon meeting attended by high-ranking officials from Strategic Command, the Defense Department and the Energy Department nuclear weapons programs set the agenda for a conference to be held at Strategic Command Headquarters in August 2003 that would evaluate "[r]equirements for low-yield weapons, EPWs, [earth penetrating weapons] enhanced radiation weapons, [and] agent defeat weapons"(weapons intended to destroy chemical or biological agents). Issues to be covered included "[e]ffects modeling capabilities to effectively plan for these weapons," "testing strategy for weapons more likely to be used in small strikes," and the "strategy for selecting first "'small builds.'" (9)

Although Congress has not yet determined funding levels for the next fiscal year, the Department of Energy (DOE) and Department of Defense (DoD) FY2004 budget requests manifest an intention to continue ramping up nuclear weapons design activities. The Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator (RNEP) study is continuing, and currently is at the 6.2/6.2A phase ("Option Downselect, Design Definition, and Cost Studies.") (10) The DOE budget request states that in addition to the RNEP, "[t]he candidate for the other Feasibility and Cost Study, subject to approval after request by the Navy in early FY 2003, would be an associated W76 study." (11) The FY2004 Air Force Nuclear Weapons Support budget request includes both RNEP work and initial studies on a new or modified nuclear cruise missile warhead, asking funds for "development of acquisition strategies/studies of traditional nuclear alternatives for new and/or expanded capabilities per the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), DoD/DOE acquisition efforts include joint DoD/DOE Phase 6.1 - 6.2A activities (e.g., Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator (RNEP), Enhanced Cruise Missile (ECM), advanced payloads, etc.)." (12) A sample task attachment to a Request for Proposals from the Air Force Nuclear Weapons and Counterproliferation Agency called for an analysis of alternatives "directed at the modification of an existing nuclear weapon to penetrate and destroy Hard and Deeply Buried Targets (HDBTs) not currently held at risk with existing conventional or nuclear weapons." This analysis is to "assess at least three (3) feasible alternatives." (13)

In addition to exploring new types of nuclear warheads, the military is doing research, conducting analysis, running simulations, and designing new computer software to improve its ability to plan and execute nuclear strikes, a central responsibility of U.S. Strategic Command. The resulting plans and software packages are intended to make it easier and faster for commanders to select weapons, estimate damage to targets, and model the effects of chemical, biological, and nuclear materials released.

New upgrades to the Strategic War Planning System are to "produce preplanned and adaptively planned options for Theater CINC-nominated Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and Nuclear, Chemical and Biological (NBC) targets using nuclear and/or conventional weapons." The objective is to "automate the current manual processes, required to produce decision documents [Theater Nuclear Planning Document (TNPD) and Theater Planning Support Document (TPSD)] for the theater Commanders-in-Chief (CINCs)." One aspect of the project will be "Earth Penetration Weapon Targeting." (14)

Theater commanders also will have new options for choosing and targeting particular weapons systems, and for integrating nuclear weapons options into the broader spectrum of weaponry. New equipment and software, for example, will give theater commanders the ability to plan nuclear cruise missile attacks more efficiently:

The Theater Mission Planning Center (TMPC) project provides for the TMPC and theAfloat Planning System (APS), a shipboard version of TMPC. TMPC and APS provide mission planning and employment support information for both the nuclear (TMPC only) and conventional TLAM [Tomahawk Land Attack Missile]. The TMPC/ APS software development decreases mission planning time and increases the quality and accuracy of each mission. (15)

As part of a $1.26 billion "Weapons of Mass Destruction Defeat Technology" research and development program, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) is looking for proposals for an Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration for "Hard, Deeply-Buried, Target Defeat." This project is intended to "expand existing planning tools, represented by the IMEA (Integrated Munitions Effects Assessment), to include defeat analysis of targets that are subjected to nuclear weapons attack and to compare the results with corresponding conventional attacks." (16) Advanced Concept Technology Demonstrations are expected to provide a "residual, usable capability upon completion." (17) According to attachments to the request for proposals,

STRATCOM [Strategic Command] needs to consider and evaluate the option of using nuclear weapons against its most difficult targets, and to compare whether such weapons provide an enhanced targeting posture or alternately provide the exclusive means to eliminate some particularly difficult targets. Because these strategic targets may themselves contain WMD, STRATCOM, as part of its assessment, needs to predict the extent and spread of chemical, biological or radiological contaminant released by virtue of the attack. In a post-attack environment, STRATCOM also needs to determine the effectiveness of the attack based on sampled physical and inferential variables produced by the attack. (18)

One goal of the project is to "develop or modify a fast running analysis tool that can 1) assess a target hardness situated below ground in a variety of geological features, 2) plan an attack using conventional or nuclear weapons, 3) optimize the attack strategy to maximize the probability of defeat, and 4) assist target planners in evaluating the probability of damage based on post-attack morphology." (19)

These programs continue ongoing work by Pentagon planners to increase understanding of nuclear weapons function in the new context where "[t]echnical challenges are presented by the rapidly developing need to hold evolving enemy targets at risk using the reduced stockpile, and recognizing greatly increasing political and environmental constraints." (20) Previous efforts during the 90's, for example, developed a prototype "Integrated Munitions Effects Assessment-(Nuclear) (IMEA-N) model to allow collateral consequence assessment of targeting weapons of mass destruction (WMD) materials," and "[d]eveloped concepts for demonstrating nuclear weapons effects on underground storage facilities, and other very hard and very deep targets." (21)

On May 5, 2000, at the conclusion of the first NPT Review Conference since the Treaty's indefinite extension in 1995, the U.S. agreed to 13 practical steps for the systematic and progressive implementation of Article VI. These steps included: ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty; the principle of irreversibility as applied to nuclear disarmament and related arms control and reduction measures; an unequivocal undertaking to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals; preserving and strengthening the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty; increased transparency regarding nuclear weapons capabilities; concrete measures to reduce the operational status of nuclear weapons; and a diminishing role for nuclear weapons in security policies.

The wide variety of ongoing efforts to increase U.S. nuclear weapons capabilities amount to an unequivocal rejection of most of these steps, as well as of nuclear disarmament itself. The effect of these actions is not to make weapons reductions "irreversible" and to reduce the role of nuclear weapons and the possibility of their use, but rather to assure for many decades to come that an enormous force of nuclear warheads and delivery systems can be reconstituted, and that new and improved nuclear weapons can be designed and built.

There is extensive evidence of the role of Strategic Command in efforts to develop new nuclear weapons and warfighting capabilities in a manner inconsistent with U.S. obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty to actively pursue negotiations for the elimination of its nuclear weapons, or with international commitments to reduce the role of its nuclear arsenal. Ongoing inspections by a strengthened International Atomic Energy Agency, other international agencies, and future Citizen Weapons Inspection Teams will be required in order to assure that U.S. Strategic Command activities are consistent with U.S. treaty obligations, and with other U.S. obligations under international law.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

On behalf of the Citizen Weapons Inspection Team,

Andrew Lichterman
Western States Legal Foundation
1504 Franklin Street, Suite 204
Oakland, CA 94612

Greg Mello
Los Alamos Study Group
2901 Summit Place NE
Albuquerque,NM 87106-2028


1. The language in quotes is excerpted from United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441 on Iraq, adopted Nov. 8, 2002.

2. International Court of Justice, Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons, General List No.95 (Advisory Opinion of 8 July 1996), sec. 105F

3. "U.S. Strategic Command SNAPSHOT: A summary of Facts and information representative of USSTRATCOM."

4. Report to Congress on the Defeat of Hard and Deeply Buried Targets, Submitted by the Secretary of Defense in Conjunction with the Secretary of Energy in response to Section 1044 of the Floyd D. Spence National Defense Authorization Act for the Year 2001, PL 106-398, July 2001, p.19. The unclassified content of the report can be found at

5. Ibid at p.6.

6. Nuclear Posture Review, pp. 34-35, provided in "Nuclear Posture Review Excerpts,", at (hereafter Nuclear Posture Review). For a more detailed analysis of the Nuclear Posture Review and current U.S. nuclear weapons policies and their relationship to other high-tech weapons programs, see Andrew Lichterman and Jacqueline Cabasso, The Shape of Things to Come: The Nuclear Posture Review, Missile Defense, and the Dangers of a New Arms Race, WSLF Special Report, April 2002, For additional information from a variety of sources about the Nuclear Posture Review, see the WSLF NPR information page at

7. Nuclear Posture Review pp.34-35

8. U.S. Department of Energy FY2003 Congressional Budget Request, National Nuclear Security Administration, Weapons Activities, Executive Summary p.10 (pdf file pagination)

9. "Stockpile Stewardship Conference Planning Meeting Minutes," 10 January 2003, Attachment 2, "Panels: Draft Topics Lists and Members." Obtained by the Los Alamos Study Group,, full document available at

10. U.S. Department of Energy, Fiscal Year 2004 Congressional Budget Request, "Weapons Activities, Directed Stockpile Work," pp.73-74.

11. Ibid. p.79

12. U.S. Air Force, RDT&E Budget Item Justification Sheet (R-2 Exhibit) February 2003, 0604222F, Nuclear Weapons Support Project 4807, Nuclear Weapons & CP Technologies.

13. "Mission Scenario Two FOR AF NWCA Analysis of Alternatives, Earth Penetrating Nuclear Weapon," accompanying "Statement of Work, Nuclear Weapons and Counterproliferation Support, AF Nuclear Weapons and Counterproliferation Agency (NWCA),25 November 2002.

14. U.S. Air Force, RDT&E Budget Item Justification Sheet (R-2 Exhibit) February 2002, 0101313F, Project 5059, Strategic War Planning System.

15. U.S. Navy, RDT&E Budget Item Justification Sheet (R-2 Exhibit) February 2002, 0204229N, Tomahawk and Theater Mission Planning Center.

16. " Statement of Objective For The Hard, Deeply Buried Target Defeat ACTD," 29 January 2003 Attachment 4 to RFP DTRA01-03-R-0005, January 29, 2003, p.1

17. "Definitions," Attachment 2 to RFP DTRA01-03-R-0005 January 29, 2003, p.8

18. " Statement of Objective For The Hard, Deeply Buried Target Defeat ACTD," 29 January 2003 Attachment 4 to RFP DTRA01-03-R-0005, January 29, 2003, p.1

19. Ibid., p.2.

20. U.S. Department of Defense, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Science and Technology), Defense Technology Objectives for Defense Technology Area Plan, (2000), "Nuclear Phenomenology," p. II-372, obtained by Western States Legal Foundation under the Freedom of Information Act. Available at

21. Defense Threat Reduction Agency, RDT&E Budget Item Justification Sheet (R-2 Exhibit), February 1999, 0602715BR, WMD Related Technologies, Project AC, Weapons System Lethality, FY 1998 Accomplishments.