Restricted Joint Chiefs of Staff Instruction: Reducing Risk of Nuclear War Between U.S. and Russia

The following manual is part of a series of “limited release” DoD doctrine publications that are not released to the public.


  • 6 pages
  • October 1, 2006


4. Policy. The reference provides warning and other appropriate measures to guard against the outbreak of nuclear war, either as a result of planned intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) or submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) launches, or unauthorized or unexplained accidents or incidents involving a US space launch or event or implying a possible threat of a nuclear attack. Because the highest national importance is attached to agreements with the Russian Federation, the United States intends to prevent any event that would violate the agreements and implement actions minimizing the effect of any incident that might occur.

5. Responsibilities


(1) Collects, consolidates, and provides the National Military Command Center (NMCC) information on all scheduled military and civilian launches, and reports to the NMCC on a near-real-time basis if an errant launch or space event may appear to the nations of the former Soviet Union (FSU) as a threat. USSTRATCOM has a similar responsibility to provide information to the combatant commands for their safeguards against false posturing of US forces as a result of any uncoordinated domestic launches that appear as possible threats to the combatant commander’s areas of responsibility.

(2) Participates during the countdown and launch phase of all appropriate launches in the range-to-NMCC conference net. The relevant test range will notify conference participants immediately if there is any real or suspected deviation in the nominal performance of the launch vehicle.

b. USNORTHCOM. USNORTHCOM is to collect, consolidate, and provide the NMCC information on all unscheduled missile defense interceptor launches appearing as a threat to nations of the FSU.

c. Services, NORAD, Combatant Commands, and Other Relevant Defense Agencies. As appropriate, provide the following information to USSTRATCOM for use by the Launch Correlation Unit (LCU) and Space Control Center (SCC):

(1) Prelaunch information (e.g., nominal trajectories, vehicle performance, and energy potential for applicable planned launches).

(2) Before each missile or satellite launch, that nuclear components or materials are or are not present.


(1) Confirms with the State Department’s Nuclear Risk Reduction Center (NRRC) that notifications have been accomplished for scheduled US ICBM and SLBM launches.

(2) Monitors all launches to provide expeditious notice to the Washington-Moscow Direct Communications Link (MOLINK), the NRRC, and other agencies if an event occurs which may be perceived as a threat to the nations of the former Soviet Union (FSU).

(3) Notifies US agencies if the NRRC receives a planned ICBM or SLBM launch notification from the Russian Federation.

e. Recipients. Recipients of this CJCSI are requested to disseminate the information contained herein to all applicable launch agencies.

6. Procedures


(1) Monitor, on a real-time basis, the countdown and launch of any missile or space launch from the United States or US-controlled territory (e.g., Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site at Kwajalein Atoll) having the capability to appear as a threat to nations of the FSU.

(2) Ensure that the NMCC is included in the launch conference at the appropriate time.

(3) Inform the NMCC in the event of an errant launch or significant space event.

(a) Ensure that the NMCC is provided the general location of predicted decay and deorbit points; approximate time over nations of the FSU; the type and physical dimensions of the object, if known; and confidence level associated with the prediction.

(b) Ensure that the NMCC is advised of significant space breakups of five or more pieces that are detected within 6 hours of decay and predicted to pass over nations of the FSU.


(1) Monitor, on a real-time basis, the launch of any missile defense interceptor from the United States having the capability to appear as a threat to the nations of the FSU.

(2) Inform the NMCC of an errant missile defense interceptor launch, or if a missed interceptor could impact in the FSU.

(3) Ensure that the NMCC is provided the general location and approximate time of predicted impact.

c. The NMCC will:

(1) Confirm with the NRRC no later than 24 hours prior to the day of the planned launch that launch notification has been accomplished.

(2) Coordinate with the Joint Staff/J-5 if NRRC reports that notification has been attempted but not accomplished due to technical problems.

(3) Notify USSTRATCOM and other appropriate agencies of launch delays or cancellations resulting from notification issues.

(4) Ensure that the MOLINK and NRRC are notified immediately in the event that an ICBM or SLBM is launched without adequate notice, or that there is an errant launch or space event appearing as a threat to the nations of the FSU.

(5) Notify USSTRATCOM, NORAD, Site-R, the Deputy Director for Intelligence, USEUCOM, USPACOM, USJFCOM, the National Military Joint Intelligence Center (Eurasia desk), the National Airborne Operations Center (NAOC), and the Joint Staff of any ICBM or SLBM launch notifications received from the Russian Federation.

d. USSTRATCOM is authorized to formalize memorandums of agreement with military and civilian launch agencies.

e. Planning and recommended changes to procedures will be accomplished through normal staff channels.

7. Summary of Changes

a. Replaced USCINCSPACE with USSTRATCOM, replaced CINC with combatant command.

b. Clarified the instruction’s policy stated in paragraph 4.

c. Added NMCC START notification verification and notification responsibilities.

d. Added coordination with the NRRC.

e. Updated name of the test facility at Kwajalein Atoll.

f. Inserted language to have USNORTHCOM provide pertinent information regarding any missile defense interceptor that may appear as a threat to the nations of the FSU.

g. Modified language throughout to more accurately depict the political makeup of Eastern Europe and Asia.

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