American Nuclear Response: Hardware And Credibility And Risks

Minuteman Missile

Minuteman Missile

According to this report, the launch code at all U.S. Minuteman missile sites was eight zeros for decades. We suppose the launch code was but one in a series of safeguards for long range missiles but somebody thought launch codes were needed for some reason, right? Our qualms have increased since hearing of Air Force nuclear officers being cashiered for leaving security doors unlocked while they slept. It is said that the Air Force nuclear career path is losing its previous attraction as an elite opportunity; officers are burning out.

President Obama has apparently been removing such noddys, leaving one to wonder whether they are his peculiar phenomenon or something overlooked under prior administrations? Will the addition of Iran to the nuclear club–and those that will follow–require a response from America? If so, what?

And how does it go in other nuke-y places such as Russia, China or maybe, Pakistan?Our world is becoming more–interesting–every day!

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About Jack Curtis

Suspicious of government, doubtful of economics, fond of figure skating (but the off-ice part, not so much)
This entry was posted in Homeland Security, Military, Nuclear Politics and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to American Nuclear Response: Hardware And Credibility And Risks

  1. NEO says:

    It’s always, or so I’ve been told, stressful duty. As is hot pad alert in the bomber wings, and boomer duty in the USN & RN as well. Missilemen never seemed to get the respect that pilots did, although many were. Traditionally in the AF, one couldn’t command air assets unless rated (Navy is the same last I knew) It’s about understanding the job, and reasonable. The codes? Haven’t a clue, don’t know what they controlled, it’s not like they were on the internet, I assume they still aren’t. 2 keys, two trusted officers, in a secure (very secure actually) location should be enough.

    Now? reports say that morale sucks all through the services, that doesn’t help but is it any worse in strat forces, I doubt it, they were usually the best of all.

    • Jack Curtis says:

      Risk inevitably increases with the equally inevitable spread of nuclear and ICBM technology. Social attitudes also change. I suppose that sleeping with unlocked doors and not bothering to assign launch codes is a result of the latter sort of changes… which suggests that, as the risks undertaken walking on the public streets have risen, so along with them have the risks from the world’s spreading nuclear armament. We have handed matches to increasingly careless kids, seems to me.

      • NEO says:

        Yep, that about the size of it. We are, unfortunately, no longer living in the 70s. Which while it’s too bad, it is.

        A different, and pretty much bipolar, world was much simpler.

      • KG says:

        ” I suppose that sleeping with unlocked doors and not bothering to assign launch codes is a result of the latter sort of changes…”

        That is not what the article says. What it says is…

        “during the height of the Cold War, the US military put such an emphasis on a rapid response to an attack on American soil, that to minimize any foreseeable delay in launching a nuclear missile, for nearly two decades they intentionally set the launch codes at every silo in the US to 8 zeroes”

        The article is saying that the launch codes were Zeroed during the height of the Cold War, because of increased readiness. It implies that that may no longer be the case, since there is less concern with immediate retaliation.

        Also SSBNs are called Tridents, not Boomers, because of the new Trident missile, FYI.

      • Jack Curtis says:

        That seems the supposition, and it was unchanged for a couple of decades, leaving us now to decide whether we think it was policy, or an excuse. Regardless, all such seem over time, to deteriorate when unused…

  2. KG says:

    What did the launch codes do?

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