In the March 2017 issue of Scientific American, the editorial board calls for the United States to take its nuclear missiles off hair-trigger alert as a way to reduce the risk of mistaken or accidental launch of nuclear weapons. Read more >
March 15, 2017 3:19 PM EDT
January 17, 2017 11:42 AM EDT
After Donald Trump takes the oath of office later this week, he will be given the codes that allow him to order the launch of nuclear weapons.
At that point, Mr. Trump will inherit a deeply flawed system: one that gives sole and absolute authority to the president to launch US nuclear weapons—and that can put extreme time pressure on him to make that decision. Read more >
December 20, 2016 9:17 AM EDT
At the beginning of his presidency, President Obama gave a soaring speech in Prague, promising that the US will “put an end to Cold War thinking” and “reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy.”
His record so far has been somewhat mediocre—but it’s not too late to make a little more progress. Obama could reduce the hedge stockpile of weapons the US keeps in storage, and the amount of highly-enriched uranium and plutonium that the US keeps in case it wants to build even more weapons. It’s surprising that he hasn’t already taken these incremental steps. But their incremental nature also means that the Trump administration is unlikely to object. Read more >
September 6, 2016 4:34 PM EDT
One of the frustrations of trying to change policy is that frequently repeated myths can short-circuit careful thinking about current policies and keep policy makers from recognizing better alternatives.
That is particularly frustrating—and dangerous—when the topic is nuclear weapons. Read more >
June 22, 2016 3:35 PM EDT
More than 90 prominent US scientists, including 20 Nobel laureates and 90 National Academy of Sciences members, sent a letter to President Obama yesterday urging him to take US land-based nuclear missiles off hair-trigger alert and remove launch-on-warning options from US warplans. Read more >