Highest Rated Comments

SecDef191760 karma

It is not.

SecDef191250 karma

Hypersonic weapons are touted as being especially dangerous because there is no defense against them. This is only hype, because in fact we have no effective defense against the ICBMs that the Russians have had for decades. Hypersonic weapons do not add to the capability that Russia and the United States already have to destroy one another.

SecDef191236 karma

Even if someone else in the chain believes it to be unnecessary, they still have no authority to call it off. If the Commander of STRATCOM believes it to be an illegal order, it is possible that they might attempt to cancel the order, but an order given by the President as Commander in Chief is inherently considered a legal order, and the military is trained to take orders, not question them.

There is also the possibility that the President sends the order not through the Commander of STRATCOM or Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, but through a Junior officer in the war room.

SecDef19927 karma

We would prohibit sole presidential authority and require that both the executive and Congress approve the first use of nuclear weapons. We could also simply prohibit first use. We would also prohibit launching US nuclear weapons based on notification of a possible attack, as the attack may turn out to be a false alarm.

We have had at least 3 false alarms in the US and could have more.

SecDef19593 karma

It can be easy to feel overwhelmed with the horrible reality of nuclear weapons, but the truth is that there are many things we can do to lower the danger.

In the United States, we can retire the Football and declare a No First Use policy, reducing the danger of a President launching an unprovoked nuclear attack. There has been legislation put forth to this effect, but it needs public support to pass.

We can prohibit “launch-on-warning,” which calls for launching on the warning of an attack, before it has landed. This policy is dangerous, because it is possible that a warning is false, such as the case of a mechanical error or cyber attack. There have been several false alarms in the past.

We can retire our land-based Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles, which are in known fixed locations, and place pressure on the President to make a decision within 5-10 minutes whether to “launch on warning” before an attack would destroy them in their silos. Our air and sea legs of the triad are more than sufficient for deterrence. Right now we are preparing to spend over $100 billion dollars to rebuild our ICBM force - but it has not happened yet. If we act now, we can halt this plan.

We can push for leaders to re-engage with long-standing arms control agreements, such as New START, and reinforce the strength of international nuclear norms.

Most of all, what you yourself can do, is to demand that nuclear weapons are once again addressed by your politicians as a serious issue. To educate yourself, and to initiate conversations within your community, and to make sure that this issue is brought to the forefront.

Progress has been made in the past to lower the danger, and there was a time after the Cold War when I (Bill Perry) believed that the danger had passed, but we allowed ourselves to become complacent and forget what was at stake. Change will not come about until there is significant public pressure once again to demand accountability on these destructive weapons.