By Norman Polmar

The nearest we have now ever come to the tip of the world

"DEFCON-2 is the simplest unmarried quantity at the Cuban Missile trouble released and is a vital contribution to the background of the chilly struggle. past the army and political evidence of the predicament, Polmar and Gresham cartoon the personalities that created and coped with the problem. additionally they convey us how shut we got here to the sting with out changing into sensationalistic."—Larry Bond, bestselling writer of risky Ground

Spy-satellite and aerial-reconnaissance pictures display that one of many United States's bitterest enemies might be buying guns of mass destruction and the skill to take advantage of them opposed to the yank native land. management officers refuse to simply accept intelligence pros' interpretation of those photos and order an finish to undercover agent missions over the offending state. greater than a month later, after vicious infighting, the president orders the secret agent missions to renew. the recent images show an array of ballistic missiles, able to wearing nuclear warheads and remarkable deep inside of U.S. territory. it seems that the missiles could be absolutely operational inside of one week.
This isn't really a plot setup for a suspense novel; it's the actual tale of the main terrifying second within the 45-year chilly warfare among the U.S. and the Soviet Union: the Cuban Missile concern. DEFCON-2 tells this story because it hasn't ever been advised before—from either side, with the aid of hundreds and hundreds of lately declassified U.S. and Soviet files, in addition to interviews with various former spies, army figures, and govt officers who converse out right here for the 1st time.

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Extra resources for DEFCON-2: Standing on the Brink of Nuclear War During the Cuban Missile Crisis

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Intelligence agencies credited the SS-4 with a maximum range of 1,020 statute miles (1,670 kilometers). This estimate was based on data from limited telemetry intercepts during Soviet missile flight testing, information from Soviet defectors, and material provided by Colonel Oleg Penkovsky, a military intelligence (GRU) officer who spied for Britain and the United States in 1961–1962. In reality, the maximum range of the SS-4 was 1,300 statute miles (2,080 kilometers), based on Soviet data available in support of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) agreement, signed in 1987.

S. intercontinental ballistic missiles carrying nuclear warheads were readied for launching. Several hundred manned bombers armed with nuclear weapons on forty-three airfields in the United States and on a number of bases in other countries were prepared to launch within fifteen minutes. Other SAC bombers—some sixty of them—were already airborne, carrying nuclear weapons and flying predetermined patterns, ready to turn toward targets in the Soviet Union at a moment’s notice. Relays of tanker aircraft refueled them in flight until the bomber crews reached the limits of their endurance after twenty-four hours and were replaced by other bombers.

Nikolai Shumkov, the commanding officer of the submarine B-130 in the Caribbean area. William Y. S. S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Maxwell Taylor in 1962. S. destroyer Leary on the quarantine line during the crisis. Several other interviewees asked that they not be identified publicly. To them, a special thank you. Material for this book was also drawn from earlier interviews by one of the authors with: Ray S. Cline, the former Deputy Director of Central Intelligence. Thomas S. Gates, the Secretary of Defense, who established the Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff.

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