Letter Re: Updated Nuclear Targets in the United States

This letter is in response to your posting today regarding potential nuclear targets. Overall, a very good question by DFer, and your wise and reasonable response is much appreciated. As one of the few people on the Internet who actually discuss potential US nuclear targets, based on historical government documentation, I’m glad to see you and a few others (Shane Connor, Joel Skousen, etc.) not letting this important point of history be forgotten. It’s another visit to an old post of yours in June of 2006.

Lawrence’s response in that post was “old 1960s era targeting maps will still give the survivalist a good idea of where not to be when TSHTF”. That still applies. Discussion on your site and many others about other places not to be (mass gatherings such as sports events, malls, national monuments and the like) is also worthy of consideration, in our current trend of monthly terror threats, such as today’s announcement of Osama Bin Laden’s latest video threatening Europe. (And yes, .mil is very concerned on both sides of the pond).

I have had a few “unofficial” e-mails from government contacts in the last couple of years (since 2005…most [of them] working on government contracted publications for internal use) who have asked for some of my non-public collected data information on targeting, and the short online Q&A with them has led me to believe that the pot of hot water we frogs have been living in has had the heat turned up, meaning this…new and updated lists of potential worry are prepared, and probably still being tuned and polished up, as the daily world threat thermometer rises and falls.

I seriously doubt the general public will see these lists, maps, locations, and target types for many years to come, since the external threat to US soil is still at such a ragged and ever concerned pace. It took only two years to get the National Attack Planning Base 1990 released from FEMA by the FOIA, thanks to a friend of mine who found my document wish list a few years ago. While just over 20 years old, it’s still the measuring stick for any reports that follow.

FEMA 196 is still the only consumer document available directly from FEMA that ever gave fairly detailed info (to a generalized county level) of potential US targets, and since US threats have risen greatly since 9/11, it may well be the only document that FEMA, or succeeding agencies, ever produce on that subject. What we can learn from the currently available info, is why the original targets were targets, and what might make new locations future targets. It takes a bit of work on our part, but it’s not any more difficult than basic

I’ve expanded the target list on SurvivalRing a bit with more discussion of what makes a target, and have added a comments section to the web page to answer specific questions that readers and visitors may have about the old targets, and potential new targets. SurvivalBlog readers might like to discuss our current target list, or have more info they’d like to bring to the table.

Since I’m still attending college full time, I have a lot of my site projects on the back burner, but one near the top of the list is a mashup of my blogging software, with Google Maps, extended interactive areas, and a lot deeper discussion, research, and updating on targeting, safe areas, and all the details you mention in your response (weather patterns, population demographics, etc). I’m finishing up an atmospheric science class this semester that really opened my mind to global weather patterns more than ever, and the work that Shane Connor did with Transpacific Fallout is going to be seeing an update from me in the spring.

Keep up the great work, and thanks for all you do. You’re one of the most rational minds I’ve found on the web when it comes to the simple work of helping others understand why we need to think about dealing with whatever the future brings. – Rich Fleetwood, Founder of SurvivalRing.org