In the West, concern is growing at the rapidly mounting military strength of the Soviet Union and its foreign policy which United States President Jimmy Carter recently characterised as "a continuing aggressive struggle for political advantage and increased influence", internationally and particularly in Africa.
SV INT: People walking through command post passages. (2 SHOTS)
SV: Bomb proof doors are opened.
TV: Command post operational desks. (3 SHOTS)
CU: Airborne command jet in flight. (2 SHOTS)
SV: Crew on board.
GV: Alleged spy aircraft in flight...a U2. (3 SHOTS)
GV: SR71 in flight, world's fastest aircraft. (3 SHOTS)
GV: The White House in Washington.
CU: President's red emergency phone at headquarters. (2 SHOTS)
CU: Officer on telephone and B52s taking off and in flight, refuelling.
SV: The FB111 taking off and in flight and scenes of ground from aircraft. (4 SHOTS)
SV: Cruise missile on ground and placed onto wing to bomber and in flight and released in air. (4 SHOTS)
SV: Men at control panel for missiles in HQ. (3 SHOTS)
CU: Minutemen missile in soli and blasting off and into air and second rocket launched and into air. (7 SHOTS)
BARNETT: "This command post, and its approaches, are virtually bomb proof, except for a direct hit. The concrete walls are two feet thick.
Huge doors, to shield against blast and gas, are opened after a test. They can protect those below, who, with emergency supplies of power, food and water, could exist for at least two weeks.
The Command Post was the basis for the set in the satirical film, "Doctor Strangelove". It's the focal point of the Strategic Air Command global network, aimed at thwarting any attack from the Soviets. But this name is rarely mentioned-officials, instead, refer to the threat. A key to the entire system is communication. There's a constant link to the airborne command jets-converted air force transport planes.
One of them is always in the air-its crew of specialists out of harm's way in the event of nuclear attack.
Spy planes are also flying round the clock. The old U2s, one of which was shot down by the Russians in an international crisis 20 years ago, are still flying. So, too, are the world's fastest plane, the SR71, which flies at three times the speed of sound.
In the event of war, the President would take command from the basement of the White House. And he would give the word to the SAC Headquarters, on the red emergency phone, to unleash any nuclear attack.
SAC is the world's most powerful military unit. There are 470 bombers. B52's have been on alert since the fifties and they can range round the world, constantly lurking near Soviet territory, with the help of in-flight refuelling.
The FB-one 11, similar to those in the Royal Australian Airforce, can operate at 60 thousand feet, or just above the ground with the aid of onboard radar. Both planes can carry either nuclear or conventional weapons.
This is film, just released, of the deadly cruise missile, essentially a pilotless aircraft, like the old German buzz-bombs, which flies towards its target at high speeds and low altitudes. If the order "attack" came from the President, the first of one thousand Minutemen missiles, would blast off from silos in the United States, targetted on the Threat.
Americans are confident that at present they are still ahead of the Soviets in the nuclear race. And a main reason in the power and effectiveness of SAC. The motto of the command is "Peace is Our Profession". One General added, with honesty, "But War is our business". Peter Barnett, SAC Headquarters, Omaha, Nebraska."
REPORTER: PETER BARNETT
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: In the West, concern is growing at the rapidly mounting military strength of the Soviet Union and its foreign policy which United States President Jimmy Carter recently characterised as "a continuing aggressive struggle for political advantage and increased influence", internationally and particularly in Africa. As the angry words continue between the superpowers, the Supreme Commander of NATO forces in Europe, General Alexander Haig warned recently that the alliance's military strength there, both in conventional and nuclear terms, will be "dangerously low" by the next decade. But defence observers see other threats in the Soviet arms build-up. They believe that Soviet missiles, now being tested, will have the capability to eliminate, in one strike, what has been, until now, the impregnable heart of United States' nuclear defences-the 1,000 strong Minutemen arsenal in its silos. Here, with a report from the nerve centre of the United States's missile defence system, the headquarters of the Strategic Air Command in Omaha, Nebraska, is Peter Barnett of the Australian Broadcasting Commission.