The military’s Cold War-era nuclear strike plans against Russia have finally been revised, according to the Federation of American Scientists (FAS). The Red Integrated Strategic Offensive Plan, or RISOP, was used for decades by the U.S. military to determine which targets in Russia (and pre-1991, the Soviet Union) would be attacked. It appears, however, that RISOP has been officially canceled according to declassified documents obtained by FAS under the Freedom of Information Act.
That doesn’t mean the military isn’t still thinking about and planning for hypothetical nuclear strikes against Russia. “Despite the shift, however, declassified documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act also show that RISOP-like and “red” analysis continues, and that that the cancellation was necessary to allow STRATCOM to broaden nuclear strike planning beyond Russia,” writes FAS analyst Hans Kristensen.
While this move reflects important shifts in U.S. nuclear posture, Kristensen points out that what is striking is really how few changes there have been overall in U.S. nuclear planning, and how long those changes take. “Despite the policy change toward Russia, the [Red Planning Board] RPB had not made any changes to the RISOP since 1998, following President Clinton’s PDD-60 directive that removed the requirement to plan for protracted nuclear war with Russia.”