By Christopher J. Bright (auth.)
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Additional resources for Continental Defense in the Eisenhower Era: Nuclear Antiaircraft Arms and the Cold War
Using the missile’s early designation, the supplemental study expressed support for “atomic warheads as planned for the Nike B,” a recommendation that Sprague probably repeated orally when appearing before Saltonstall’s committee the second time. ”32 Admiral Radford, who attended the presentation, considered the report unduly alarming. He may have merely disagreed with the assessment or feared such musings would lead to higher spending on anti-bomber defenses and sap money from other projects. The JCS chairman reported to Defense Secretary Charles E.
13 The administration, however, was initially uncomfortable with the project. There was the perception that the subcommittee’s undertaking was an undue usurpation of executive authority. In addition, officials worried about the prospect that information that revealed shortcomings in the nation’s defense preparations (including analysis from the Edward and Bull studies and other reports) might become public, resulting in political damage or an intelligence windfall for the Soviets. At the time, estimates of the American defenses and the Soviet ability to inflict damage by way of a surprise bomber attack were among the most closely guarded and sensitive national security details.
H. Rowen, a junior officer in the AEC’s Division of Military Application, the commission component responsible for weapon development, raised the possibility of touting the forthcoming tests of relatively small air-defense devices. 11 Regardless of the origins of the idea, it was acted upon. ” It explained: [t]he purpose of the test will be to supplement the data needed by the Continental Air Defense Command and other interested agencies regarding the effects of atomic explosions at high altitudes.