Date: Wed, 04 Oct 2006 23:42:02 +0100 (BST)
From: daniel wilson <>
Subject: ICBM Deployement : To Defend & Deter
To: Francis Ridge <>

Just a starter...
Chock Full of Information...607 pages!!!! See Chapter 8, page 7: Missile Deployment, below.
USACERL Special Report 97/01
November 1996
A study sponsored by the Department of Defense
Legacy Resource Management Program
Cold War Project

After developing the Atlas, Titan, and Minuteman ICBMs, the Air Force’s next task
was determining how many to buy, where to deploy them, and what type of launch facilities
to build. These decisions had to be made quickly, because building the missiles and
their launch and support facilities would take several years. However, these decisions
also had to be made judiciously because the Air Force realized that the decisions it made
in the late 1950s and early 1960s would determine the size and shape of the nation’s
ICBM force for decades to come.

The size of the nation’s ICBM force expanded considerably during the late 1950s and
early 1960s. In late 1955 the Air Force hoped to have a force of 120 Atlas missiles in
place by 1960, and in late 1956 President Eisenhower thought “that 150 well-targeted
missiles might be enough” to deter a Soviet first strike.l

By early 1958, however, the threat of the Soviet missile program, crystallized in the
furor over Sputnik and the debate over the missile gap, prompted the United States to
deploy more ICBMs. In 1957 the influential Gaither Report recommended a force of 600
ICBMS, and by 1958 the Air Force proposed deploying 1,600 Minuteman missiles.2 The
commander of SAC, General Curtis LeMay, wanted even more; at one point he proposed
that his command deploy 10,000 of the solid-fuel missiles. As it turned out the
Minuteman proved to be so effective that a force of that size was unnecessary. In the
early 1960s Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara fixed the nation’s land-based ICBM
force at 1,000 Minuteman missiles plus the 54 Titan 11s then under construction. The
force remained that size for the next 25 years.

Site Selection
The Air Force determined where to locate the missile launch facilities based on missile
range and the distance to the target.3 For example, the Air Force originally decided
to deploy the first operational Minuteman squadron at Vandenberg AFB, on the
California coast northwest of Los Angeles. Shortly thereafter the Air Force discovered a
flaw in the first stage of the Minuteman IA, the first production model, that reduced its
range from 6,300 to 4,300 miles. The defective nozzles promised to be a major setback
because, for the missiles based at Vandenberg, a range of 4,300 miles was insufficient to
carry them over the North Pole and strike targets in the central Soviet Union. However,
rather than delay deployment by the 6 months to a year needed to redesign the first
stage, the Air Force neatly resolved the problem by moving the first Minuteman wing
from Vandenberg to Malmstrom AFB, Montana. The move had two advantages. First,
since Malmstrom was 600 miles farther north, the move put the missiles that much
closer to their targets in the Soviet Union. Malmstrom’s 3,500-foot elevation was also a
plus because it made boosting the missiles into space easier.
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