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
When his team learned that Lockheed had developed a conceptual design for a very high-flying airplane that could be equipped with reconnaissance cameras, he and the others realized it could be used to gather specifics about the number and disposition of the Soviet Bisons. In November 1954, he secured Eisenhower’s approval for the development, under CIA auspices, of what became known as the U-2. 80 With the exception of the U-2 information, the steering committee, with Cutler’s active assistance, presented the highlights of the group’s two-volume 190-page assessment, entitled “Meeting the Threat of Surprise Attack,” to the National Security Council in a four-hour meeting in the White House Broadcast Room on March 17, 1955.
Ultimately, all air-defense nuclear warheads were of the sealed-pit variety. In this and other ways, nuclear weapon designers accommodated the military by developing arms with specified characteristics. More generally, in the case of the Nike-Hercules, BOMARC, and Genie warheads, the military perceived inadequacies in existing antiaircraft weapons and sought to ameliorate these difficulties through the use of nuclear explosives tailored to the task. High-flying, fastmoving, nuclear-laden planes and their payloads were difficult to assuredly destroy using available technology in the early 1950s.
This was the first of several instances in which Sprague proved influential in plotting the scope and timing of American nuclear antiaircraft defenses. The AEC, Douglas Aircraft, the Air Force, and many other organizations expedited the Genie program in late 1954. 60 The circumstances that resulted in the congressional notification originated in an August 9 letter from JCAE chairman Cole to Secretary Wilson. Cole wrote that his committee had established another panel. ” Apparently not satisfied with the information received in April from Sprague, the committee had asked retired Army general Albert C.