Political Science 378

Assignment 2 FAQ

The following are some of the most commonly-asked questions about assignment 2. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions, but you might find the answer to your question here.

Do we strike targets other than ICBMs? Are we allowed to strike targets other that ICBMS? The assignment continually mentions silos, but neglects to mention submarine and bomber bases. Is this intentional? Are we able to strike these targets? If so, what should we use for the hardness of these targets?

Technically, you do not strike anything other than ICBM silos. But look at the assignment. You are told what to assume about the target's surviving SLBMs and bombers. In effect, I let you destroy a portion of the SLBMs (the subs in port) and bombers (the bombers that cannot get off the ground before their airbase is attacked) for "free" (i.e., without having to spend any warheads).

FYI, I feel that it would add too much complication to have you figure out how to attack the SLBMs and the bombers, and the number of warheads you'd have to use is so small (the US has only 2 SLBM bases; 1 warhead per base is probably fine), that I just build that into the assumptions of the assignment.

In the spreadsheet, what does "Weapon 2" mean? We're a little confused by the meaning of "Weapon 2" on the Excel Spreadsheet. What are we supposed to put in those columns?

First of all, the only column in the spreadsheet that you touch is #SNDV under the heading "Post-Attack." It is the right hand shaded column. If you change anything else, you may get the wrong answers.

The weapon 2 pair of columns is there because in some years, some kinds of bombers are reported as carrying 2 types of weapons (for example, gravity bombs and cruise missiles). When that happens, I enter the details of the second kind of weapons system carried by the bombers, so that the correct EMT/SNDV total will appear.

Can we use bombers in our first strike against ICBM silos? Our group was wondering about the reliability of the weapons on the B-2 bomber, if used for a first strike. Based on the information on the B-52, I assume it can be used, but there's no information on the reliability or the CEP (which I would assume is 0 since it's a bomb). Can it be used in a first strike? If so, what's the reliability per SNDV?

You cannot use bombers on a first strike so it doesn't matter. The CEP is included for the cruise missiles carried by the B-52 for your information.

Just so you won't think I'm trying to make life difficult, let me explain. Bombers are subsonic so it would take 8-12 hours to fly from a bomber base to targets in Russia. It would be very hard to believe that the Russians would be courteous enough to leave their missiles in silos for that long if the know they are under attack. A couple of details:

So it's hard to imagine a credible scenario (a) to use bombers on a first strike against silos, (b) to combine bombers and ICBMs on a first strike.

What value do we use for MT for MIRV'd missiles? If the missile has MIRVs, what value do we use for the kp program? For example, the Minuteman III Mk12a has 3 x .34 MT warheads. Do we enter .34 or 1.02?

You enter the value for a single warhead. For the Minuteman III Mk12a, you enter .335 MT.

What do we do when the calculations show that partial silo is destroyed? When we calculate the number of silos destroyed, we end up with a number that suggests a partial silo has been destroyed. What do we do?

You can round up or round down. The choice is yours. Just be sure that you (1) Explicitly tell me what you are doing; (2) Do it the same way for each calculation.