Gaither Report

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Deterrence & Survival in the Nuclear Age was the report of the Security Resources Panel of the President's Science Advisory Committee, presented to President Eisenhower on November 7, 1957. It is known as the Gaither Report after the panel's chairman Horace Rowan Gaither. The report recommended a significant strengthening of U.S. strategic offensive and defensive military capabilities.

While the president had asked for an evaluation of fallout and blast shelters, the opening page of the report stated that their purpose was to “form a broadbrush opinion of the relative value of various active and passive measures to protect the civilian populations in case of nuclear attack and its aftermath.” This look at active protective measures relegated shelters to a secondary position in a report now concentrated on nuclear deterrence. The rationale for this can be found in their assumption that the Soviet Union, with its expedient development of military technology, had already exceeded the technical achievements made by the U.S. in ICBM research.


  • Deterrence & Survival in the Nuclear Age ("Gaither Report"). Security Resources Panel of the Science Advisory Committee, Executive Office of the President. November 7, 1957. Accessed March 25, 2007.
  • Rearden, Steven L. Reassessing the Gaither Report's Role. Review of The Gaither Committee, Eisenhower, and the Cold War by David L. Snead. Political Review Net, Blackwell Publishing, November 14, 2001.

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