Production of [DELETED] Weapons, 1981

For decades, President Reagan’s 1981 National Security Decision Directive (NSDD) 7 remained entirely classified.  According to a 1999 listing of Reagan NSDDs issued by the National Security Council, even the title of NSDD 7 was classified.

In 2008, the document was partially declassified, bearing the title “[deleted] Weapons.”  It stated:  “The production and stockpiling of [deleted] weapons is authorized with stockpiling being restricted to the United States [deleted].”

What is this all about?  What mysterious weapons were to be produced and stockpiled that could not be acknowledged three decades later?

In all likelihood, said Hans Kristensen of FAS, the deleted term describing the weapons is “enhanced radiation.”  Two enhanced radiation weapons started production in August/September 1981, he noted: the W70 (Lance warhead) and the W79 (artillery shell).

That likelihood is actually a certainty, said our colleague Allen Thomson, who pointed to the 1991 Bush directive NSD 59.  The Bush directive, declassified in 1996, listed the title of NSDD 7 with no redactions:  Enhanced Radiation Weapons.

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