hair-trigger alert


Flickr/Creative Commons/Pierre J.

Should the President Have Sole Authority to Launch a Nuclear Attack? In the Age of Trump, Experts Offer an Alternate Plan

, senior writer

More than a million people in Hawaii thought it was time to say their final alohas. A state cellphone alert announced that nuclear missiles were heading their way. “Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii,” the January 6 text read. “Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill.” Read more >

Bookmark and Share

We’ve Said It, the Post Says It, Now SciAm Too: Take Weapons Off Alert

, physicist & co-director, Global Security

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 >

Bookmark and Share

No President Should Have Absolute Authority to Launch Nuclear Weapons

, physicist & co-director, Global Security

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 >

Bookmark and Share

Last Call! Obama’s Final Actions on Nuclear Weapons

, physicist & co-director, Global Security

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 >

Bookmark and Share

Nuclear Weapons and the Myth of the “Re-Alerting Race”

, physicist & co-director, Global Security

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 >

Bookmark and Share