Last week, the US conducted a military exercise which simulated a nuclear exchange with Russia and contrary to traditional practices, the Pentagon put that politically explosive designation out in the open.
Any operational directive (or combat order) starts with an overall “enemy” assessment which includes data about the “enemy’s” political situation and military capabilities in the strategic area of interest, as well as possible scenarios of engagement.
Sometimes a particular enemy is designated for these exercises, but usually it’s just given some abstract label (such as blue, green or orange). Even fake countries, like Donovia or Limaria, are invented in some cases.
All the documents pertaining to military exercises are usually classified. Depending on the level of sensitivity, they are marked as “secret” or “top secret.” All this is done in order to avoid souring relations with other states, which might well happen if, for instance, the papers reveal that one nation is role-playing an attack on another.
Nuclear war games are always classified as top secret. Basically, all documents related to strategic nuclear forces operations would be the most restricted military data in any nuclear state.
And then a senior Pentagon official comes out and says, at the DoD Background Briefing on Nuclear Deterrence and Modernization, that they held a "mini-exercise" with a scenario that “included a European contingency where [the troops] were conducting a war with Russia, and Russia decided to use a low-yield limited nuclear weapon against a site on NATO territory.” The exercise was complete with a simulation of a conversation between the secretary of defense and the president “to decide how to respond.”
Forget cautious secrecy, the full transcript was published on the DoD’s website. This makes one think, what is that about? One thing we can say for sure is that it definitely does not help maintain or promote peace and friendly relations in the world.