'Sum of All Fears': Crossing the Threshold of Nuclear Conflict in the 21st Century   [open pdf - 156KB]

"The Advanced Systems and Concepts Office of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency sponsored a two-day workshop in August 2005, hosted by the Air Force Institute for National Security Studies in Doolittle Hall at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado. The purpose of the workshop was to consider the next first use of a nuclear weapon and how the United States might respond to that attack--both in the immediate sense, as well as in revising our strategy the day after an attack occurred. The evening before the formal agenda began the sponsors offered an optional movie showing in Arnold Hall at the Academy. The movie, 'Sum of All Fears,' was based on a Tom Clancy novel of the same name and showed the chaos in the government decision-making process we could anticipate following the first use of a nuclear weapon in 60 years. The movie posited a terrorist group finding a lost Israeli warhead that they were able to smuggle into Baltimore's harbor and detonate while the U.S. president was attending a football game in that city. The conference participants watched the film while keeping in mind a big question which often goes unanswered in government or military workshops of this type: 'what happens after a nuclear event?' The movie brought some of that to the fore, but failed to address a number of crucial questions: What were other countries thinking? Was an adversary trying to determine how to exploit the situation? How did America's allies react? How would the United States deal with a domestic emergency on such a scale? We can expect that a great deal of attention would be devoted to domestic emergency response, Congressional reaction, and international repercussions." Note: This document has been added to the Homeland Security Digital Library in agreement with the Project on Advanced Systems and Concepts for Countering WMD (PASCC) as part of the PASCC collection. Permission to download and/or retrieve this resource has been obtained through PASCC.

Report Number:
Report No. ASCO 2005 054; Report No. Advanced Systems and Concepts Office 2005 054
Public Domain. Downloaded or retrieved via external web link as part of the PASCC collection.
Retrieved From:
ASCO/PASCC Archives via NPS Center on Contemporary Conflict
Media Type:
'Sum of All Fears': Crossing the Threshold of Nuclear Conflict in the 21st Century. U.S. Air Force Academy, CO. August 17-18, 2005
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