In early summer, Donald Rumsfeld passed a top secret plan entitled «Interim Global Strike Alert Order», the purpose of which was to have the troops ready to attack any hostile countries owning mass destruction weapons. General Bruce Carlson - Commander of the 8th U.S. Air Force Division - stated that thereafter, with that plan, the United States could attack any opponent in 12 hours or less, anywhere in the world.
In the secret world of military planning, "global attack" is the term used to describe a specific preventive attack with a nuclear section. The U.S. official posture on the use of a nuclear weapon has not changed. The Bush administration still wants to reduce our arm reserves at the same time that it preserves a solid deterrence force. However, from September 11, 2001, a succession of events seems to indicate that we are on the eve of an important strategic change. Understanding this process is essential when we focus our attention more and more on the nuclear intentions of Iran and North Korea.
From now on, the "global attack" formula includes conventional and nuclear attacks, which worsens even more the risks of using nuclear weapons. The plan designed to attack Iran or North Korea is CONPLAN 8022, which must respond urgently, without using terrestrial forces, to an imminent nuclear-type threat or to other mass destruction weapons. So far, this plan should permit to paralyze a country by means of mass bombing. That used to be enough but recently a nuclear part has been added. Actually the obsession is to attack the enemy in a fast way, without having to accurately determine priority targets. To do this, a nuclear weapon must be used.
Traditionally, the Pentagon has refused to discuss its military plans but this one is worth discussing.

Source
Washington Post (United States)

« Not Just A Last Resort? », by William M. Arkin, Washington Post, May 15, 2005.