SUPPLEMENTAL INSTRUCTION 3110.04
1. PURPOSE. This supplemental instruction gives broad guidance to combatant commanders planning for nuclear operations.
2. GENERAL. Planning for the employment of nuclear weapons requires adherence to the same basic principles and procedures as for employment of conventional weapons. However, special consideration is necessary to ensure that these weapons will be used with the utmost discrimination, because of their increased destructive power and wide area coverage. Operation plans developed by combatant commanders will contain appropriate supporting nuclear plans.
3. RELEASE AUTHORITY. The decision for US forces to use nuclear weapons rests with the President of the United States. Following Presidential authority, the combatant commanders exercise the sole authority for release of weapons within their respective commands. Combatant commanders may further delegate this authority to major subordinate commanders.
4. NUCLEAR POLICY
a. Strategic Planning
(1) Planning for the strategic employment of nuclear weapons will be per the National Strategic Targeting and Attack Policy (NSTAP). The Director of Strategic Target Planning (DSTP) is an agent for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who maintains the Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff (JSTPS) to perform targeting and planning functions. The JSTPS develops and maintains the National Strategic Target List (NSTL), Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP), and National Strategic Requirements List (NSRL).
(2) Combatant commanders will coordinate, through their representatives to the JSTPS, all operation plans containing nuclear weapon employment options.
b. Tactical Planning
(1) When preparing contingency plans with nuclear weapon employment options, combatant commanders will comply with the following operational constraints:
(a) Although early nuclear employment will generally not be authorized except in response to an enemy nuclear attack, the United States retains the right to first use of nuclear weapons.
(b) Every reasonable effort will be made to limit attack in the vicinity of densely populated areas.
(c) Weapon yields and the employment of surface bursts will be limited to those yields essential to accomplishing the mission.
5. AUGMENTATION, SUPPORTING, AND DEPLOYING FORCES
a. Supporting commanders deploying forces in support of or in augmentation of supported commanders will ensure that such forces are deployed with their full nuclear delivery system capability.
b. Nuclear weapons allocation, handling, and storage will be per approved plans.