The Craziest Nuclear Weapons Policy That You’ve Never Heard Of

Published Aug 8, 2016

What if someone told you that we were one cyberattack away from accidental nuclear war? One false radar reading away from World War III? What if that person was a US general?

That’s the reality today, with hundreds of US nuclear missiles kept on hair-trigger alert. Leftover from the Cold War, the system is supposed to deter a Russian first strike. If radar and satellite indicate an incoming attack, the president is given ten minutes to decide if the attack is real and whether to launch.

But satellites and radar can be wrong. They’ve been wrong before, and we’ve been lucky to avoid a world-changing nuclear conflict. Even US generals say the most likely nuclear war is an accidental one.

Fortunately, the president can independently end hair-trigger alert—but he needs your help. Send him a letter and make your voice heard: let’s stop gambling with nuclear weapons.

Related resources