Cuban Missile Crisis: Nuclear Order of Battle

October 24, 2012 // 3:30pm5:00pm
Event Co-sponsors: 
Kennan Institute
Cold War International History Project
History and Public Policy Program

Robert S. Norris, senior fellow for nuclear policy at the Federation of American Scientists will lead a Wilson Center panel discussion entitled, "Cuban Missile Crisis: Nuclear Order of Battle." The event will take place during the 50th anniversary of the 13 day crisis.

It is universally understood that had the Cuban Missile Crisis led to a nuclear war, that war would have been fought with thousands of weapons, and the destruction of human civilization would have been the likely result. In the fifty years since the end of the crisis, new information has become available to researchers about what nuclear forces were available for use by the United States and Soviet Union during the crisis. The revelation in 1992 that Soviet tactical nuclear weapons were based in Cuba during the crisis—and may have been used in the event of a US invasion—is the best known and most startling of these new insights.

Now, for the first time effort, Federation of American Scientists Senior Fellow Robert S. Norris has compiled all of the available information on US and Soviet nuclear forces during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The result is a Cuban Missile Crisis nuclear order of battle laid out in unprecedented detail, encompassing US and Soviet forces in and around Cuba, in and facing Europe, and central strategic forces.

Joining Norris on the panel is nuclear historian and defense analyst David A. Rosenberg.

Tim McDonnell, program associate with the Wilson Center's Nuclear Proliferation International History Project will chair the event.

5th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center
Event Speakers List: 
Back to top

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
  • Leopoldo Nuti // Co-Director, Nuclear Proliferation International History Project; Public Policy Scholar
  • Evan Pikulski // Program Assistant

Wilson Center Photo Gallery

Browse or share photos from the Wilson Center’s events.

To Attend an Event

Unless otherwise noted:

Meetings listed on this page are free and open to the public. Reservations are not required unless otherwise noted. All meetings take place at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, DC. Please see map and directions. Allow time for routine security procedures. A photo ID is required for entry.

To confirm time and place, contact Maria-Stella Gatzoulis on the day of the event: tel. (202) 691-4188. Check this page for the latest updates and notices.