Former CWIHP Intern Nathan Jones Presents at the George Washington University

Mar 24, 2009

Former CWIHP intern Nathan Jones, an M.A. candidate in history at the George Washington University presented his M.A. thesis "New Evidence on Operation RYAN, Able Archer 83, and the 1983 'War Scare,'" at a 23 March 2009 event organized by GWU's Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies and the GW Cold War Group.

Jones's extensive research is based upon Freedom of Information Act Requests as well as documentary evidence from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, the U.S. National Archives, the George Washington University's National Security Archive, and CWIHP's Virtual Archive.

In 1983, the Soviet Intelligence Operation RYAN--a global effort to provide strategic warning of a U.S. nuclear first strike--erroneously reported to the Center that the NATO military exercise Able Archer 83 was really a cover for a planned nuclear attack upon the USSR, causing the USSR to ready nuclear strike forces in East Germany and Poland. Sergei Akhromeyev, Chief of Staff of the Soviet Armed Forces, has stated that he believed in 1983 that it was possible the United States would launch a nuclear first strike.

Jones argued that American foreign policy during the first Reagan Administration contributed to the Soviet Union's fear of American attack; that the United States' intelligence community either failed to detect or ignored signs of this genuine Soviet fear; and that after learning of this danger, President Reagan embraced the policy of cooperation with the Soviet Union which led to the end of the Cold War.

Experts & Staff

  • Christian F. Ostermann // Director, History and Public Policy Program; Global Europe; Cold War International History Project; North Korea Documentation Project; Nuclear Proliferation International History Project
  • Laura Deal // Catalog Specialist
  • Pieter Biersteker // Editorial Assistant
  • Charles Kraus // Program Assistant
  • Evan Pikulski // Program Assistant
  • Roy O. Kim // Program Assistant
  • James Person // Deputy Director, History and Public Policy Program; Cold War International History Project; North Korea Documentation Project; Nuclear Proliferation International History Project