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first strike

A preemptive attack against an enemy, especially one using nuclear weapons against an enemy armed with nuclear weapons.

first′-strike′ adj.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(Military) (of a nuclear missile) intended for use in an opening attack calculated to destroy the enemy's nuclear weapons
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
References in periodicals archive ?
An article headed "Canada's Leading Role in the Militarisation of Space" includes the subhead, "Planning US/NATO 'first strikes' for 'Theatre Missile Defense.'" Here Sanders writes: "RADARSAT-2's GMTI [Ground Moving Target Indication Surveillance] is being groomed for use in gathering target data for first-strike US and NATO attacks during 'Theatre Missile Defense' (TMD) engagements." Later in the article, Sanders notes: "It [RADARSAT] is now used on specialised aircraft with Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance roles, including uninhabited drones and warplanes ...
NATO is prepared to use nuclear weapons as a first-strike option.
Moscow, Jan 25 (ANI): Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has warned that his country would deploy its first-strike nuclear missiles if NATO fails to co-operate in reaching an agreement with the country's alliance on the latest proposal about the European anti-missile defence (AMD) system.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe on Wednesday dismissed South Korean claims that discussion in Japan of the possibility of attaining first-strike capability will worsen current tension with North Korea, saying he never made such remarks.
And the number of first-strike warning letters and Acceptable Behaviour Contracts (ABC) given out has also decreased.
The report said the Jewish state has been threatened by a biological or nuclear first-strike that seeks to exploit Israel's small space and high population density.
By definition, a rational state enemy of Israel will accept or reject a first-strike option by comparing the costs and benefits of each alternative.
Amid the myriad computer-virus warnings, for example, was the Net rumor that the Russians would use the confusion around Y2K to launch a first-strike nuclear attack against the U.S.
Finjan Software Inc says that its proactive first-strike security system, SurfinShield Corporate, blocks attacks by the new Win32.Crypto 'Trojan horse' virus.
Basic to NATO doctrine was a first-strike nuclear option.
The men who planned and executed the Holocaust were--together with the mass killer, Stalin--quite unlike the "crazy analysts" who dream and scheme about first-strike scenarios and battlefield victories.
This has encouraged the Soviet Union to expand their first-strike forces.