Nuclear Checks and Balances 5 replies

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Serio VIP Member

The Dane

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#1 2 years ago

I'm wondering about this. Is there any information available on the nuclear system used by the United States today? Not the one during the Cold War, with two-officer authorization, but the one used today?

One of the most influential men in the United States, Michael Hayden - who used to serve as Director of the NSA and CIA - has  voiced concerned that in case Trump runs away with the election tomorrow, that he would have access to the nuclear codes. According to Hayden, the "system is designed for speed and decisiveness" and "It’s not designed to debate the decision".

So the question is. If a US president(Be they Trump, Clinton, Bush, Obama, whoever) decides to launch the nuclear booms in a moment of madness or anger, what's to stop them from doing that? Nothing? Would a Secret Service agent be willing to pull a gun on the most powerful person on the planet to stop a nuclear war?




Andron Taps Forum Mod

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#2 2 years ago

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_football https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gold_Codes#Protocol

Also this little bit from Quora:

Presumably, by the time the POTUS got into that position, they gained the scruples not to launch a needless nuclear annihilation of another nation.  That said, there's a chain of command that involves the Secretary of Defense who could refuse to relay the order (his codes —or those of the Asst. Sec. Defense in his absence— are required to launch) and then quickly call the Cabinet and Congress to report that the POTUS had gone crazy. The Cabinet can declare the President unfit in a letter to Congress.

Furthermore, there's a "must notify" part of the nuclear protocol that requires the DoD and whomever else inside the White House to notify senior leaders of the US government in the event of a nuclear launch.  These leaders would include (and presumably not be limited to), Speaker of the House, President Pro Temp of the Senate, Majority/Minority Leaders of both houses of Congress, the Chairperson of the various oversight committees that are tied to war (Appropriations, Defense, Intelligence, Energy).  The chain of command, that requires the Secretary of Defense and others to relay such an order is robust enough to handle such a statistically-impossible scenario of a "rogue president" ordering a launch.

https://www.quora.com/If-the-US-President-at-the-spur-of-the-moment-decided-to-launch-a-nuclear-missile-as-a-first-strike-attack-could-anyone-stop-him So it seems there are forces at play that could prevent Trump from ruining the planet.  I expect if he does win he'll try several times to nuke SNL alone.


"I'd shush her zephyr." ~ Zephyr.



Serio VIP Member

The Dane

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#3 2 years ago

Well, that's at least somewhat of a comforting thought. Although, aren't most of those positions appointed? If a President was to appoint just as many jingoist, crazy hoops as themselves, the whole system would surely fall apart?




Andron Taps Forum Mod

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#4 2 years ago

Not really.  All cabinet appointees have to be confirmed by the senate, so luckily he'll probably be stuck in the office all day trying desperately to do something while getting told he can't do something because it's either unconstitutional or really stupid.

Honestly, it's kind of like if your local bumbling used car salesman who probably never read a book for pleasure got elected and learned the hard way just how politics and government work.


"I'd shush her zephyr." ~ Zephyr.



MrFancypants Forum Admin

The Bad

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#5 2 years ago

I guess the best control mechanism for that sort of thing is the knowledge that even if you launch a pre-emptive attack the other side will still most likely kill you and everyone you know. An American president might get away with using nuclear weapons on a conventionally armed enemy though. Or maybe on North Korea.




Andron Taps Forum Mod

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#6 2 years ago

That's something I've been wondering a for a while.  If anyone mounted a full-scale offensive or bombing run on NK?  Would anyone really come to their aid?  


"I'd shush her zephyr." ~ Zephyr.