Macmillan's defence plans revealed Ministers moved to halve the time in which the UK could be ready for war in the weeks after the Cuban missile crisis, according to recent published documents. Prime Minister Harold Macmillan ordered a review of the nation's preparedness after the US-Soviet row brought the world to the brink of nuclear war. Records of a Cabinet meeting that took place in November 1962, one month after the crisis, revealed urgent work to make sure official war procedures were up to date. The Cabinet office's home defence committee resolved to ensure the UK could be war-ready within about two days. A secret simulation exercise, Operation Felstead, had found obtaining emergency Government powers to mobilise forces could take up to four days. The papers, published by the National Archives, showed the Government wanted to rewrite parts of the War Book, its guidelines for the countdown to war. They feared current arrangements did not offer enough flexibility to counter the threat of a nuclear strike, or to cope quickly with the devastating aftermath. Officials also wanted to identify war preparations that could take place without the public's knowledge in the event of a move to a secret "precautionary stage". The papers recorded that chairman Sir Burke Trend introduced the meeting by announcing the concerns of the Prime Minister. He said: "In the light of the Cuba crisis in the previous month, the Prime Minister has asked for an assurance that Government War Book planning was sufficiently flexible to enable us to respond quickly and appropriately." john I was still at school and remember sitting around waiting for the Big Bang.