Accession Number:



U.S. Army Tactical Nuclear Doctrine in the Cold War

Descriptive Note:

[Technical Report, Monograph]

Corporate Author:

U.S. Army Command and General Staff College

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



Current US Army doctrine assumes a nuclear capable enemy will likely not use low-yield battlefield nuclear weapons. That assumption is no longer valid. The 2017 National Security Strategy and the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review both anticipate a high likelihood of a tactical battlefield characterized by an enemy employing nuclear weapons. Such an assumption was hardwired into Cold War Army doctrine. Thus Cold War-era doctrine provides a set of examples to help current Army professionals understand how to prepare for a nuclear battlefield. This monograph examines the doctrinal series FM 100-5 Operations, FM 100-15 Larger Units Corps, and FM 61-100 and FM71-100 Division from 1950-1990 and provides three recommendations 1. Include a nuclear environment specific appendix to all major manuals 2. Within all major operations, routinize a decision point to switch from a nonnuclear to a nuclear paradigm, with an accompanying planning sequel 3. Incorporate nuclear environments into training. Note This monograph is not an endorsement for the employment of low-yield nuclear weapons. It is simply an academic study to prepare American officers and decision makers for the grave possibility of a nuclear battlefield.

Subject Categories:

  • Nuclear Weapons

Distribution Statement:

[A, Approved For Public Release]