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Cornell University School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions


The Brink: President Reagan and the Nuclear War Scare of 1983

by Marc Ambinder,
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 5, 2018

In March 1982, during a briefing on a war game scenario called Ivy League, President Ronald Reagan declared that if he was notified that a Soviet nuclear attack had commenced, he wanted to remain in the Situation Room. “My job is to stay here to try to solve the problem,” he told Pentagon officials. “I’ve looked at these systems,” including presidential succession, Thomas Reed, a former secretary of the Air Force and director of the National Reconnaissance Office, told Mr. Reagan. Continuity of government operations during a nuclear war is “Wizard of Oz-like. It won’t work.”


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