Mykola Saychuk, Ph.D. (History), Board member of the Ukrainian Association for American Studies.


The system of secrecy of documents of operative-strategic planning which worked in the armed forces of the USSR and the USA during the Cold War the author analyzes based on his experience with archival documents. On the basis of the author’s experience with work with archival documents, this article analyzes the systems of classification of operational and strategic planning documents of the Armed Forces of the USSR and the USA during the Cold War. A comparison of documents’ classification levels and works of the regime-secret (classification) bodies is made. It is determined which secrecy classification levels and additional code words were used for different documents depending on the nature of the information contained in them: nuclear planning, mobilization planning, operational plans at the theaters of war.

After a detailed comparison, it is concluded that despite the widespread view of extraordinary secrecy in the USSR, in fact, the US regime-secret system was more advanced, demanding and rigid. The Soviet system included three levels of document secrecy. In addition, the US system had additional restrictions due to acronyms listing a narrow range of document users.

The aim of the article is to investigate documents that reveal the preparation for war in Europe during the Cold War.

Keywords: USA, USSR, NATO, Warsaw Pact, Cold War, secrecy, regime-secret (classification) bodies.

Full text


  1. Achalov, V. (2006). Ya skazhu vam pravdu. Moskwa: Ist-Fact.
  2. Instrukziya po obespecheniyu rezhima sekretnosti v ministerstvah, vedomstvah, na predpriyatiyah, v uchrezhdeniyah i оrganizatsiyah SSSR №0126. Utverzhdena Postanovleniem SM SSSR ot 12.05.1987 №556-126.
  3. Nelubin, L. (1989). Perevod boevyh documentov armii SSHA. Moskwa: Voenizdat.
  4. Aid, M. (2010). The Secret Sentry: The Untold History of the National Security Agency. New York, NY: Bloomsbury Press.
  5. Application of Special Eligibility and Clearance Requirements in the SIOP-ESI Program for Contractor Employees. Instruction of Department of Defense №5220.28 (1978, 08 Marсh). Retrieved from
  6. Gertz, B. (1999). Betrayal: How the Clinton Administration Undermined American Security. Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing.
  7. For your eyes only. What’s in a security classification? (2019, September). Retrieved from
  8. National Security Information. Executive Order 12356, April 2, 1982. S.Federal Register. Vol. 47, №56.
  9. S. National Letter of Promulgation for JANAP 299 (B) «U.S. Joint Code Word Index». Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1987-180-972/4002.

 DOI 10.17721/2521-1706.2018.06.101-107