One such document is known as OPLAN 8044 Revision 03. That document is an update of the basic nuclear-weapons plan, formerly known as the Single Integrated Operational Plan. It was created by the U.S. Strategic Command (Stratcom), which has responsibility for nuclear-weapons planning, doctrine and maintenance. Using the Freedom of Information Act, the Federation of American Scientists obtained a briefing on how Stratcom's OPLAN 8044 Revision 03 changed the nuclear-policy paradigm. For the first time in U.S. nuclear history, plans for nuclear attack on regional targets around the world were included in the basic nuclear war planning document.
It's not entirely easy to tell from the planning document what WMD-desiring countries are listed as targets for a possible U.S. nuclear attack. (See page 11 for all the redactions on this crucial point.) But the FAS hazards an educated guess based on photography included in the briefing document: Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea and Syria.
The briefing document also references a "target base" for prospective elimination with nuclear weapons. However, the actual document redacts what that target base might be. FAS contends it probably refers to either the stockpiles of WMD themselves or the command center for any state seeking to deploy WMD. And that's a further sign of specific planning for a full-blown nuclear conflict, the FAS writes: "The creation of a 'target base' indicates that the planning went further than simple retaliatory punishment with one or a few weapons, but envisioned actual nuclear warfighting intended to annihilate a wide range of facilities in order to deprive the states the ability to launch and fight with WMD."
It's difficult to tell whether OPLAN 8044 Revision 03 is still in place. A further revision of the plan, known as Revision 05, was still in effect as recently as July. "Presumably," writes FAS, Revision 05 carries with it planning for nuclear strikes on Iran, North Korea and Syria.
The new glimpse of OPLAN 8044 Revision 03 comes at an awkward time for the Bush administration. Just last week, a State Department official at an international arms conference met with rebuke for suggesting that U.S. nuclear forces weren't on "hair-trigger alert," even though the U.S. nuclear arsenal is known to experts to be capable of launching within minutes of an order. Certainly Iran, North Korea, and Syria are wondering at whom those weapons are currently aimed.