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Old 08-10-2017, 03:54 PM
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Arrow If Trump wants a nuclear attack against North Korea, his military advisers have few o

If Trump wants a nuclear attack against North Korea, his military advisers have few other options
By Dan Lamothe August 10 at 5:59 PM - Washington Post
RE: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...=.dbd655f594c5


The dueling threats issued by President Trump and the North Korean military have prompted questions about U.S. procedures to launch a preemptive nuclear attack. The answer is stark: If the president wants to strike, his senior military advisers have few options but carry it out or resign.

The arrangement has existed for decades, but is salient after Trump warned Tuesday that future threats by North Korea will be “met with fire and fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before.” Pyongyang responded by saying it is considering a preemptive missile strike against Guam, and Trump doubled down on his remarks Thursday by refusing to take a U.S. preemptive strike off the table and suggesting his comments might not have been tough enough.

“I don’t talk about it,” Trump said of a potential preemptive strike. “We’ll see what happens.”

[Trump escalates rhetoric on threat from North Korea]

Administration officials, including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, have sought to ease the tension, while at the time same time warning North Korea that if it carries out an attack, it will be met with a crushing response. But they also have underscored that it is Trump’s prerogative to use whatever rhetoric he believes is appropriate as commander in chief.

“I was not elected. The American people elected the president,” Mattis told reporters traveling with him Wednesday to the West Coast. “The rhetoric is up to the president.”

The “fire and fury” controversy has renewed questions among critics about whether Trump has the appropriate temperament to control the U.S. nuclear arsenal. It also follows a Defense Intelligence Agency assessment, first reported Tuesday, that North Korea has successfully produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles.

[North Korea now making missile-ready nuclear weapons, U.S. analysts say]

During his campaign, Trump promised that he would “do everything in my power never to be in a position where we will have to use nuclear power.” But he also repeatedly declined to say whether he would use nuclear weapons first in a conflict. On Thursday, he said he would like to “de-nuke the world,” but that until other countries get rid of their nuclear weapons, “we will be the most powerful nuclear nation in the world, by far.”

A December 2016 assessment by the Congressional Research Service stated that the president “does not need the concurrence of either his military advisors or the U.S. Congress to order the launch of nuclear weapons.” Additionally, the assessment said, “neither the military nor Congress can overrule these orders.”

The reason is simple: The system is set up for the United States to launch an attack within minutes, so that if the United States is under a nuclear attack, it can respond almost instantly, said Bruce Blair, a former nuclear watch officer. Trump would presumably meet with Mattis, White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford and Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, the White House national security adviser, before launching a preemptive attack, but it would “really be uncharted territory” if they sought to stall or slow down an order from the president, Blair said.

Under the existing War Powers Act of 1973, the president also is not required to seek congressional approval for any military action until 60 days after the start of a war. Two lawmakers, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) and Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), sought to stop the president from launching a first-strike nuclear attack until Congress declares war, but the effort hasn’t gone anywhere and is unlikely to with Republicans controlling both chambers of Congress.

Jeffrey Lewis, an expert on nuclear matters at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, said that he has mixed feelings about the legislation proposed, but “it would be better than what we have now.” Trump, he said, is a “walking, one-man campaign for ending nuclear deterrence,” the long-held U.S. policy in which it maintains a robust nuclear arsenal in order to prevent other countries from launching a nuclear attack.

But Lewis argued it also would be irresponsible to give any president control of nuclear weapons, but then create a system under which they cannot be used. It would be better, Lewis said, to maintain a small number of nuclear weapons to be used only if attacked.

Steven F. Hayward, a conservative policy scholar, said that if Trump’s senior military advisers stood united against carrying out a preemptive nuclear strike, the “real remedy would be resignation.” Hypothetically, doing so might trigger impeachment proceedings, Hayward said, but it isn’t clear whether it would be quick enough to stop the president from launching an attack.

“It could happen,” Hayward said. “It would be pretty dramatic and it would very unclear what would happen, but it could happen. We’re really in uncharted waters here.”

Bruce Ackerman, a professor of law and political science at Yale University, said that the principle of civilian control of the military also looms large — “even when the civilian in control is as unpredictable and belligerent as President Trump.” Latin American nations have modeled their constitutions along American lines, and their experiences suggest that terrible consequences follow when generals defy their presidents, even under compelling circumstances.

“Worse yet, once the principle is violated, it becomes a precedent for future generals to take the law into their own hands,” Ackerman said. “We cannot allow this dynamic to take hold here. If Trump’s team can’t convince him, they should obey the orders of their commander-in-chief.”
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O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

"IN GOD WE TRUST"
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Old 08-10-2017, 04:22 PM
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Exclamation To Launch a Nuclear Strike, Donald Trump Would Follow These Steps

To Launch a Nuclear Strike, Donald Trump Would Follow These Steps
By: Syeed and Brittany Harris - Updated January 20, 2017
RE: https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/g...weapon-launch/

How much power does the president alone have to launch a nuclear strike? Bloomberg News asked Bruce G. Blair, a former Minuteman missile-launch officer and research scholar at Princeton University’s Program on Science and Global Security, to spell out the step-by-step procedure.

1. The president considers a nuclear strike

The commander-in-chief’s power is clear: He or she has sole authority to use nuclear weapons.

2. The top brass is brought in

Before initiating military action, the president convenes a conference with military and civilian advisers in Washington and around the world to talk through options. In the White House, the call takes place in the Situation Room. If traveling, the president is patched in on a secure line. A key participant in the meeting: the Pentagon’s deputy director of operations, an officer in charge of the National Military Command Center, also known as the “war room.” This around-the-clock operations center is responsible for preparing and ultimately transmitting a launch order from the president. The head of all U.S. strategic nuclear forces at Strategic Command in Omaha would probably also be asked for a briefing on strike options.

3. [Time elapsed: less than one minute]

The consultation lasts as long as the president wishes, but if enemy missiles are heading toward the U.S. and the president must order a counterstrike, the consultation may last just 30 seconds. The tight time line raises the risk of launching hastily on a false warning.

4. The president decides to launch

Some advisers may try to change the president’s mind or resign in protest—but ultimately, the Pentagon must comply with the commander-in-chief’s order.

5. The order is verified

The senior officer in the Pentagon war room must formally authenticate that the person ordering the strike is indeed the president. The officer reads a “challenge code,” often two phonetic letters from the military alphabet, such as “Delta-Echo.” The president retrieves the “biscuit,” a laminated card the president or military aide carries at all times, and finds the matching response to the challenge code: “Charlie-Zulu,” for instance.

6. The order goes out

The war room prepares the launch order, a message that contains the chosen war plan, time to launch, authentication codes and codes needed to unlock the missiles before firing them. The encoded and encrypted message is only about 150 characters long, about the length of a tweet. It is broadcast to each worldwide command and directly to launch crews.

7. [Time elapsed: two or three minutes]

The submarine and ICBM crews receive the message within seconds of the broadcast. Just a few minutes have passed since the initial conference call.

8. Launch crews take over

Launch message in hand, the crews open locked safes to obtain sealed-authentication system (SAS) codes prepared by the National Security Agency and distributed throughout the military’s nuclear chain of command. They compare the SAS codes in the launch order with those in their safes.

9. If the missiles are launched from a submarine:

The captain, executive officer and two others authenticate the order. The launch message provides the combination to an on-board safe holding the “fire-control” key needed to deploy the missiles. Missiles are ready for launch about 15 minutes after receiving the order.

10. If the missiles are launched from land:

Five launch crews in various underground centers control a squadron of 50 missiles. Each crew consists of two officers. The individual teams are spread miles apart. Each receives the orders, opens safes and compares their SAS codes to those sent by the war room. If they match, the crews enter the message’s war plan number into their launch computers to re-target missiles from their peacetime targets in the ocean to their new targets. Using additional codes in the message, the crews enter a few more keystrokes to unlock the missiles before turning launch keys retrieved from their safe. At the designated launch time, the five crews turn their keys simultaneously, sending five “votes” to the missiles.

11. Mutiny is unlikely

It takes just two “votes” to launch the missiles. So even if three two-officer ICBM crews refuse to carry out the order, it won’t stop the launch.

12. Missiles are launched

About five minutes may elapse from the president’s decision until intercontinental ballistic missiles blast out of their silos, and about fifteen minutes until submarine missiles shoot out of their tubes. Once fired, the missiles and their warheads cannot be called back.

End Result: Count the Dead & Devastation
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Boats

O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

"IN GOD WE TRUST"
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