To: Ronin; John W
>>>"There are sure to be safeties in place to prevent unauthorized launches and any launch order coming from the President is going to have to be justifiable in terms of immediate threat." <<<
That's not the way it works. The football is a communications device and has no decision making capability. It has authentication codes. Those codes, when received and authenticated by the launch officer, basically order the silo to launch on a specific target.
The "launch order coming from the President is not going to have to be justifiable in terms of immediate threat." Rather, the launch order coming from the President (via the "football" with appropriate authentication codes) is all that is needed to command a launch.
posted on 12/23/2003 12:00:18 PM PST
(Dump Wesley Clark.....he worries me as much as Hillary!)
If the target is in the SIOP he could probably get away with it, that's true. Especially since the whole purpose of the SIOP is to provide an easily usable and rapid response to immediate threats.
However, if he gets a wild hair in his nether regions, dials up CINC-SAC (or whatever it is called this days) and orders an egg dropped on Mecca, I am sure there are going to be people questioning whether this is a valid launch order.
At the very least, I would expect that he is going to have to have another cabinet secretary sign off on it.
I don't see Mecca being part of the SIOP, but I could be wrong. There is no industry, command and control, or even political leadership there that would justify a nuclear attack in terms of threat analyis and response.
That could change, of course. If Al Queda were ever to overthrow the Saudi regime, delcare a new caliphate, move the capital of the country to Mecca and start churning out nukes or other WMD, they would paint a bullseye on the place, but I don't see it happening otherwise.
posted on 12/23/2003 12:54:27 PM PST
(Qui docet discit!)
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