Nuclear Weapons
the What you need to know about Nuclear Weapons guide prepared by The Heritage Foundation is a useful resource.

About Those Nuclear Codes...How Do They Work?

By Jo Craven McGinty,
from The Wall Street Journal,

If the U.S. is attacked, a counterstrike process ensues over 45 to 60 minutes.

How do the nuclear codes work? In the event of a nuclear attack on the U.S., there is no button for the president to push. Instead, a series of codes must be relayed before 42 pairs of land-based missile operators in as many different locations can turn their launch keys to unleash a nuclear response. If the president were to fire all 420 of those land-based nuclear warheads, plus 1,000 missiles aboard 10 nuclear submarines, it would equal roughly 30,000 Hiroshima bombs.

“From start to finish, everything will be gone and exploded in an hour or 45 minutes,” said Bruce G. Blair, a former Minuteman missile-launch officer and research scholar at Princeton University’s Program on Science and Global Security. Mr. Blair, who has firsthand knowledge of some of the procedures, laid out the expected timeline for a U.S. nuclear response to an attack. Here’s a breakdown of what would likely happen and how long each step would take:

More From The Wall Street Journal (subscription required):

365 Days Page
Comment ( 0 )
Leave a Reply