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Talk:Intercontinental ballistic missile

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 Definition A ballistic missile, carrying one or more warheads, with a range in excess of 5500 kilometers; the definition traditionally referred to land-based weapons, but some submarine-launched ballistic missiles have this capability [d] [e]
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Article mechanics

Please bear with me as a new editor, but can we address some structural things? First, even at Wikipedia, I dislike having the full citation in a bibliography section, and then the actual footnotes, with no hyperlink to the full citation, in a references section. Were I writing this article at Wikipedia, I'd have moved the text of the referenced items in the Bibliography into the article, as inline citations.

Since CZ has sections for Bibliography and External Links, I would think we'd want to make use of them. As I understand, there is still some discussion on just what should be in a bibliography, but my general understanding is that the items in it may not explicitly map to a footnote in the main article, but there should be enough annotation to tell me why I would want to track down the item and read it.

These do appear to be legitimate references, but I can't help be reminded of an annoyance at Wikipedia: things sometimes went into "additional reading" or "external links", and, if tracked down, turned out to be conspiracy theories or other fringe material that would have been edited out had their content been detailed in the main article.

At least some of the items in the bibliography appear as if they match to inline references, which show up in a terse form in the reflist. It may be a personal quirk, but I hate to follow a footnote, then discover it doesn't give me anything more than an author name for which I have to search a list of references. This is one case in which paper has a slight advantage over hyperdocuments: you can use ibid and op cit and loc cit and the like, without worrying if a dynamically inserted edit completely throws off the ibids.

Comments from Richard Jensen, the author of the additions, or anyone with insight on annotations would be much appreciated. Howard C. Berkowitz 13:35, 11 May 2008 (CDT)

first, all the cites are legit --no conspiracies--and, in my opinion, useful for people interested in ICBM's. (the one by Dupont is somewhat speculative, but it's a PhD thesis from a major university). I will be adding more bibliog.
I had absolutely no urge to reach for my tinfoil hat.

Second, how should footnotes be handled? In this case, I gave a brief cite in the footnote with the full cite in the bibliography (which eventually will go on its own page when we're mostly finished.) It is also possible to give a full cite on both places. Either approach is OK with me--I take it Howard wants the second approach. I strongly dislike ibid's and such in CZ. (because text gets moved or erased and we'll have orphans.) Richard Jensen 13:50, 11 May 2008 (CDT)

I hadn't thought of full cites in both cases, but I suppose this could be done with transcluding -- I've never tried it. Definitely no more Latin than necessary in bibliographies; et al. is about all that makes sense in a hyperdocument.
At this point, I'm simply not familiar enough with the forums and such to be able to understand CZ thinking, but I know there is discussion of the role of an annotated bibliography. At WP, I always found it easier to write with inline citations and only list other works if they were good general background -- sometimes,I'd do that for hard copy I didn't physically have at hand but could recommend.
The question, which I think is being discussed, is how this can be most useful for the reader? The cluster concept in CZ really doesn't exist in WP, and it seems powerful; I don't have enough sense of how it is to be used, and I know there is discussion of additional tabs such as "tutorial" and "advanced". Incidentally, I have found one thing I'd call a bug, or at least a reference. A full inline citation, in CZ, must appear before any short references to it (e.g., <ref name=foo />). In WP, the full citations (mutters about 1970-vintage compilers, bibliographic tools, and forward references) can appear anywhere.

Direction of the article

Where do we go to fill out the article, and/or create related articles? For example, should there be a brief mention of ballistic missile defense, and a pointer to one or more BMD articles? What about penetration aids? How about MRV, MIRV and MARV? Superhardening, dense pack, mobile, and other survivability modes? Advanced articles might deal with targeting issues such as ladder-north and pindown (dense pack could go here).

I know a good deal about the command and control of the U.S. system, and, again, there might be justification to have some of the Minuteman-specific material here, with extension to a separate article; the separate article might address nuclear C3 in general. That article would need material on the Soviet/Russian controls; I do remember a decent Scientific American article, but I haven't done a literature search yet. My guess would be that there is very little in the open literature, and possibly not much in the classified, about Chinese strategic control.

Does another discussion concern the evolution of warheads, the Titan II being kept for longer than expected because it could lift the 9MT W53? More accurate reentry vehicles made the need for very large warheads to go away in counterforce as was understood in the open literature. What about the significance of much longer ranged SLBMs with highly accurate reentry vehicles; while SLBMs were often seen as the second-strike hedge, Trident D5 could be a first strike weapon. Howard C. Berkowitz 13:35, 11 May 2008 (CDT)

I like Howard's ideas and think the more the better. If needed we can divide into separate articles (eg one on warheads, another on C3). I added the Minuteman because it is the most important system. My own interest is the history of the Cold War -- more from diplomatic and strategic perspective. My daughter is a rocket scientist but I am pretty wobbly on how the V-2 worked. Richard Jensen 13:55, 11 May 2008 (CDT)
The V-2 was pretty wobbly; the SCUD was really a clone. "Close" does count with horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.
I do have an interest in the strategic issues as well, but focused more on the technology. Did manage to have an interesting chat, in 1972, with an arms control negotiator, who assured me it was the Soviets that insisted on the euphemism national technical means of verification. He said they had made it clear that their domestic politics could not tolerate the idea of "spy satellites", immune from the great Red Army, flying over the Motherland, and if we said we did that, they'd walk out.
The doctrinal aspects do get interesting. Somewhere, I have Marshal Sokolovsky's book, which made it fairly clear they would be almost certain to go chemical, and probably tactical nuclear, if the Warsaw Pact started rolling west. I'm less clear on the Soviet concept of strategic use, and, while I haven't fully ingested it, there is some quite recent material on what they called Operation RYAN, in which they were quite worried (1983 or so, IIRC, that the U.S. was preparing a first strike). I can't speak for people like LeMay and Power, but I've known SIOP planners and launch crews, and they never dreamed we would launch a first strike.
Do take a look at and, both of which I expanded very significantly. Without judging where the material would go, we might be wanting to think about an "overarching" document on nuclear strategy, including its blind alleys. I started an article on military doctrine here, and wondered, on the talk pages, about where deterrence theory and things like Schelling's compellence theory should go. Howard C. Berkowitz 14:21, 11 May 2008 (CDT)
I'd say the article on nuclear strategies should be entirely separate from this. (It includes much more than ICBM's--there were a lot of other weapon systems --like bombers and subs--as well as Warsaw and NATO armies to think about. As for subgroups and stuff--we have the advantage at CZ of only a few serious people working on an article like this one, and can do so on a page like this. I taught history at Moscow State in 1986 and boy were they upset about Star Wars! Richard Jensen 14:44, 11 May 2008 (CDT)
Would not the appropriate response have been, in Russian of course, "for Star Wars, there is vodka"? Actually, when you think of "other systems", I think of two examples: Penkovsky's offer to put small bombs in Moscow, and the perhaps apocryphal story from "Victor Suvorov", of the field intelligence people that bought what they thought was an American nuclear artillery shell, and announced this proudly to the Politburo -- who inquired where they had taken the shell, and how did they not know, if it was in Moscow, that a timer was not clicking away inside (the actual resolution was funny enough to be true, or ought to be if not).
Was there much Russian academic discussion of strategy of this type? Howard C. Berkowitz 14:56, 11 May 2008 (CDT)
How do we find the interested people? Email on the military group list?
let's email the military group. The Russians were flummoxed by Star Wars because their best scientists could not say whether or not it would work. The reason was pretty basic: no computers. The Moscow State U. was running a 10-year old version of Fortran (stolen), with no updates, on its mainframe. The computer science department gave me a tour and proudly showed me their main tools: two Apples. (our Montessori school back home had better equipment). The total failure to computerize meant they could never catch up with the Americans, and when Reagan talked about spending a trillion dollars on Star Wars they panicked. It had the potential of shutting down their entire deterrence system. I think that's when the military and KGB decided they had to totally reform their system and try to negotiate (as at Rejavik). Richard Jensen 15:13, 11 May 2008 (CDT)
OK. I partially cloned ICBM to SLBM. Howard C. Berkowitz 15:41, 11 May 2008 (CDT)


Interesting article on visiting a missile silo turned museum.

It has pictures which are available under a CC license. Would these be useful here? Sandy Harris 03:29, 6 June 2010 (UTC)