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The 'Nuclear Button' Explained

by Countable | 1.3.18

President Donald Trump tweeted on Tuesday:

Does the president have a “Nuclear Button”? Is it “much bigger and more powerful”? Well, first, it’s not actually a button. Here’s what you need to know about the “Football” — the small briefcase whose contents allow the president to give orders to authorize a nuclear attack.

  • Commonly known as "The Football," its official name is the “president’s emergency response satchel”.

  • The Football is carried by military aides who always stay within a few feet of the president.

  • The Football is built around a sturdy aluminum frame encased in black leather.

  • Contrary to what movies have you believe, the Football doesn’t open up to reveal a big red button—its purpose is to confirm the identity of the president, and allow the commander in chief to communicate with the Pentagon’s National Military Command Center.

  • The 45-pound satchel contains four items: a top secret black book outlining response options; a booklet explaining the Emergency Alert System; a listing of classified locations throughout the U.S. where the president can safely go during or after a nuclear attack; and a card with authentication codes. (Bonus fact: President George W. Bush used the classified safe-location list during the 9/11 attacks).

  • The laminated authentication-code carried by the president at all times is nicknamed the "Biscuit".

  • The Football was "invented" in response to the concerns of President John F. Kennedy. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, Kennedy posed the following two questions: “What would I say to the Joint War Room to launch an immediate nuclear strike?” and “How would the person who received my instructions verify them?”

  • JFK’s Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara, said the Football got its name from an early nuclear war plan code-named "Dropkick." (As The Smithsonian explained: “‘Dropkick’ needed a ‘football’ in order to be put into effect.”)

  • The president has complete authority to order a nuclear attack, from the launch of a single missile to massive strikes from all elements of the nuclear triad: aircraft with atomic weapons, submarine-launched missiles, land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMS).

What do you think?

Do you support the way Trump is handling North Korea? Do we need more threats and sanctions against the rogue nation? Hit Take Action and tell your reps, then comment below.

—Josh Herman

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(Photo Credit: Stubborn3D / YouTube)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(21)
  • Curtis
    01/03/2018
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    I think Kim needs some one to shut him up ! Mr. Trump has to let that nut case know we have his lunchbox ! Have you ever watched boxing , UFC . You have to let them know you take his threat seriously ! What would you do ? Sit under your desk and hope he will go away ! I don’t think Mr. Trump should Apologize For Having the BALLS to stand up for America !!!!

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  • Bluewitsend
    01/03/2018
    ···

    The procedure for nuclear war is horrifying and the seriousness of it should not be taken lightly in any boastful way. This world could be destroyed by a careless event. Just think in a very sober way where we would be then?

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  • Jesse
    01/03/2018
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    This very bad for this president to talk about this he knows northing about this topic at all

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  • Terry
    01/03/2018
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    Chill out people

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  • R. ben
    01/03/2018
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    As stupid and frightening as this is, it’s not hard to laugh at trumps comments. I mean it’s kind of funny the taunting.

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  • Donna
    01/03/2018
    ···

    The nonchalance with which DJT tweets any comments regarding the US nuclear arsenal or the use of these weapons against ANY country on this planet is disturbing and dangerous. Why is his Twitter account still active? I would think taunting, bullying and threatening the leader of a nuclear-armed country would be against the company's use policy. If not, perhaps their policies need to be reviewed and updated.

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  • Osprey
    01/04/2018
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    Americans could have a productive and sustainable future if they vote for leaders who think long-term.

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  • Ticktock
    01/03/2018
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    Does it really matter whether or not there is a button on Trump’s desk. More wars have been begun due to loose lips and Trump if nothing else is as loose as a cannon ball on a rolling ship. Whether Trump has access to the button or not he needs to shut up! Too many lives are at stake.

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  • BeStrong
    01/03/2018
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    ...Nuclear holocaust is nuclear holocaust. It’s not a joke or the rhetoric of a madman just being himself. We cannot know the mind of KJU or NKs ability to understand the childish mind of a unpresidential President. When did school yard taunting become Presidential? The whole world is watching! The whole world is affected! Action item...@POTUS should be decommissioned as a threat to our National Security.

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  • Isabel
    01/05/2018
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    Trump should be looking for ways to convince other countries to dismantled Nuclear weapons. Not encourage confusion, division & lack of leadership . Life is precious but 30-38% elected a man that is just not up to the job. Vote Nov. 6, 2018 mark your calendars

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  • Ann
    01/03/2018
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    trump is badly bungling responses to North Korea (and the other countries in the world). NO NUCLEAR WAR!!!!!

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  • Dennis
    01/03/2018
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    I’m horrified by the childish way Trump is handling our relations with North Korea. Despite the dead seriousness of it all, he acts as if he’s engaged in some dark Nintendo game. We need smart adult behavior, not juvenile gamesmanship.

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  • Mary
    01/09/2018
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    I do. Not approve of The way he is handling North Korea’s. He is using twitter to get on there and threaten world leaders and when you talk about nuclear you never know what can happen to many people can die

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  • Michael n angie
    01/16/2018
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    In response to Azrael: Somebody get me a doctor‼️😂 READ, WEEP, PRINT AND KEEP! This should be on the front page of every newspaper. Charley Reese's Final column! A very interesting column. COMPLETELY NEUTRAL. Be sure to Read the Poem at the end.. Charley Reese's final column for the Orlando Sentinel... He has been a journalist for 49 years. He is retiring and this is HIS LAST COLUMN. Be sure to read the Tax List at the end. This is about as clear and easy to understand as it can be. The article below is completely neutral, neither anti-republican or democrat. Charlie Reese, a retired reporter for the Orlando Sentinel, has hit the nail directly on the head, defining clearly who it is that in the final analysis must assume responsibility for the judgments made that impact each one of us every day. It's a short but good read. Worth the time. Worth remembering! 545 vs. 300,000,000 People -By Charlie Reese Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them. Have you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, WHY do we have deficits? Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes? You and I don't propose a federal budget. The President does. You and I don't have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does. You and I don't write the tax code, Congress does. You and I don't set fiscal policy, Congress does. You and I don't control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does. One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one President, and nine Supreme Court justices equates to 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country. I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, central bank. I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman, or a President to do one cotton-picking thing. I don't care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator's responsibility to determine how he votes. Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party. What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits.. ( The President can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.) The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes. Who is the speaker of the House?( John Boehner. He is the leader of the majority party. He and fellow House members, not the President, can approve any budget they want. ) If the President vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to. [The House has passed a budget but the Senate has not approved a budget in over three years. The President's proposed budgets have gotten almost unanimous rejections in the Senate in that time. ] It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million cannot replace 545 people who stand convicted -- by present facts -- of incompetence and irresponsibility. I can't think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people. When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist. If the tax code is unfair, it's because they want it unfair. If the budget is in the red, it's because they want it in the red. If the Army & Marines are in Iraq and Afghanistan it's because they want them in Iraq and Afghanistan .. If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it's because they want it that way. There are no insoluble government problems. Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power. Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like "the economy," "inflation," or "politics" that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do. Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible. They, and they alone, have the power. They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses. Provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees... We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess! Charlie Reese is a former columnist of the Orlando Sentinel Newspaper. What you do with this article now that you have read it... is up to you. This might be funny if it weren't so true. Be sure to read all the way to the end: Tax his land, Tax his bed, Tax the table, At which he's fed. Tax his tractor, Tax his mule, Teach him taxes Are the rule. Tax his work, Tax his pay, He works for peanuts anyway! Tax his cow, Tax his goat, Tax his pants, Tax his coat. Tax his ties, Tax his shirt, Tax his work, Tax his dirt. Tax his tobacco, Tax his drink, Tax him if he Tries to think. Tax his cigars, Tax his beers, If he cries Tax his tears. Tax his car, Tax his gas, Find other ways To tax his ass. Tax all he has Then let him know That you won't be done Till he has no dough. When he screams and hollers; Then tax him some more, Tax him till He's good and sore. Then tax his coffin, Tax his grave, Tax the sod in Which he's laid... Put these words Upon his tomb, 'Taxes drove me to my doom...' When he's gone, Do not relax, Its time to apply The inheritance tax. Accounts Receivable Tax Building Permit Tax CDL license Tax Cigarette Tax Corporate Income Tax Dog License Tax Excise Taxes Federal Income Tax Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA) Fishing License Tax Food License Tax Fuel Permit Tax Gasoline Tax (currently 44.75 cents per gallon) Gross Receipts Tax Hunting License Tax Inheritance Tax Inventory Tax IRS Interest Charges IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax) Liquor Tax Luxury Taxes Marriage License Tax Medicare Tax Personal Property Tax Property Tax Real Estate Tax Service Charge Tax Social Security Tax Road Usage Tax Recreational Vehicle Tax Sales Tax School Tax State Income Tax State Unemployment Tax (SUTA) Telephone Federal Excise Tax Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Taxes Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax Telephone Recurring and Nonrecurring Charges Tax Telephone State and Local Tax Telephone Usage Charge Tax Utility Taxes Vehicle License Registration Tax Vehicle Sales Tax Watercraft Registration Tax Well Permit Tax Workers Compensation Tax STILL THINK THIS IS FUNNY? Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago, & our nation was the most prosperous in the world. We had absolutely no national debt, had the largest middle class in the world, and Mom stayed home to raise the kids. What in the heck happened? Can you spell 'politicians?' I hope this goes around THE USA at least 545 times!!! YOU can help it get there!!! GO AHEAD. . . BE AN AMERICAN!!! SEND THIS TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW Like · · Share · 2 hours ago via mobile ·

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  • Deirdre
    01/03/2018
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    The fact that trump has this ability to start a nuclear war is terrifying. Please someone needs to stop trump from tweeting anything. He sounds like a bully because he is a bully. I think the fact that North Korea wants to start talking is something that we need to achieve. With these tweets from trump it isn’t helping the situation at all. America used to stand for so much. Now we are reduced to bullying other countries. No one except trump wants a nuclear war. Take the “football” away from him.

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  • Lisa
    01/04/2018
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    Bill Clinton actually lost his biscuit (the card containing the verification codes ) and did not tell anyone for months. That’s irresponsible!

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  • Jessica
    01/04/2018
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    To my Colorado representatives: our democracy is based on a system of checks and balances. It is time for you to put the president in check. Using social media provoke the ire of nuclear missile-wielding leaders is beyond irresponsible. Our country is in imminent danger from an unstable president and congress must take action to stop him.

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  • Dan
    01/04/2018
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    I do not support the way the president is handling North Korea. This man is insane, childish, self absorbed and should be removed from this office. He should not be allowed to call a nuclear strike on his own.

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  • Azrael
    01/04/2018
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    This isn’t high school If this does not frighten you, you need your head examined

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  • Christopher
    01/04/2018
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    Absolutely NOT!!!! We cannot make threats like that without fallowing through.

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