Every so often, the Department of Defense publishes a book about nuclear weapons. Called “Nuclear Matters,” it’s distributed to members of the nuclear-industrial complex, to students of national security, and to policy analysts. Although unclassified and available on a DoD website, it generally doesn’t get around much. But it should. It includes a good overview of the U.S. nuclear stockpile, some relevant information about the laws governing how nuclear material is stored and handled, and who in the government has particular responsibilities for accidents. There’s also a neat primer on nuclear weapons physics and on the complicated secrecy classification system for all things nuclear: (that’s NC2-ESI, SIGMA, CWINDI, RD, FRD, ATOMAL, etc).
"Sigma 14. That category of sensitive information (including bypass scenarios) concerning the vulnerability of nuclear weapons to a deliberate unauthorized nuclear detonation.
Sigma 15. That category of sensitive information concerning the design and function of nuclear weapon use control systems, features, and components. This includes use control for passive and active systems. It may include weapon design features not specifically part of a use control system.”
And there’s a new category of Sigma — Sigma 20, that’s kind of scary:
"A specific category of nuclear weapon data that pertain to sensitive improvised nuclear device information.”
One thing this particular book does not address is the architecture of the nuclear command and control system. Much of it was declassified after the end of the Cold War and reclassified after 9/11. Older Nuclear Matters books I’ve seen even include pictures of “Site R,” the Defense Department’s Alternate National Military Command Center. This one doesn’t even mention the President’s Nuclear Satchel, a.k.a, The Football.