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SEKA's avatar

How often do they change the Nuclear Codes and should we be nervous?

Asked by SEKA (6082points) January 11th, 2021

i had a nightmare last night. One where on his way out, trump gave putin the Nuclear Codes which were used to fire the missiles on us. I woke up in a panic and couldn’t get back to sleep. Now that almost everyone is seeing how unhinged he has become, I’m wondering if anyone has thought to change those damn codes?

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22 Answers

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
ragingloli's avatar

The codes are changed daily, and are mixed among a list of “dummy codes”, so drumpf would have to memorise, which of them are the actual launch codes.
The process also is not automated, and has to go through the chain of command for the weapons to actually be launched. So it is very unlikely that putin could do anything with the codes, should he gain access to them.

elbanditoroso's avatar

I don’t know that any of us know for sure, but what @ragingloli says seems plausible to me. At least that is how they portray it in the movies.

My guess is that unless you are actually in the chain of command, it is all guesswork.

I agree with @hello321 about not watching TV for bed. Or at least watch cartoons.

Finally, I think it is safe to assume that Putin and his guys are well aware of our processes, even if they don’t know today’s codes. They would be lousy spies if they didn’t.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Thank you @ragingloli! That is an interesting read.

From people around him now we know he is becoming “unhinged”. Fortunately the last 2 sentences of the article make me feel better. Maybe Pence and Congress will stand up and do the right thing.

“It is argued by Franklin Miller that the president has almost single authority to initiate a nuclear attack since the Secretary of Defense is required to verify the order, but cannot legally veto it.[11] However, Section 4 of the 25th Amendment of the Constitution allows for the vice president, together with a majority of cabinet heads or Congress, to declare the president disabled or unfit to execute the duties of the office.[12]”

kritiper's avatar

We don’t have to worry about our side doing something, but now would be a good time for somebody to hit us.
Whoever holds the “football,” as it is called, does not have to obey a direct order, from the president or anyone else, if they have a good reason not to.

Zaku's avatar

Having “the nuclear codes” isn’t enough to launch attacks. It’s just one part of the failsafe protocols designed to prevent such attempts, which also involve people and other pieces of technology.

Trump trying to give Putin the codes would just be detected, intercepted, and used as yet another piece of evidence that Trump is a traitorous madman.

It’d be slightly good in that a few more kooky Trump supporters might start to doubt their thinking.

mazingerz88's avatar

Would top military intelligence and strategists actually release in public how nuclear codes are managed?

If it’s your call would you?

Whatever it is what makes me wonder is if those people in the chain of command in launching a nuke would refuse to obey in light of what’s happening today.

Someone here in Fluther months ago I think said these people would obey no matter what because that is the job.

If that’s not the case and Trump can be dissuaded if not totally thwarted from firing a nuke that would be really, really…well, nice.

Zaku's avatar

@mazingerz88 It’s not the case. The command structure around launching nuclear weapons is designed to prevent one person, even the POTUS, from causing a nuclear attack to be launched, if there’s no reason to do so. Trump replaced as many military appointees as he could to try to get as much control as he could, but the people he can appoint don’t extend into that process.

elbanditoroso's avatar

This assumes that the people in the command process are loyal. If there was some closet Proud Boy or some Qanon supporter in the nuclear command hierarchy, that increases the chances of Goodbye Teheran.

Zaku's avatar

No, it depends on who is currently leading the US strategic command.

That’s currently Admiral Charles “Chas” A. Richard ( )

janbb's avatar

I’ve read that Nancy Pelosi called General Milley to discuss the security of the nuclear codes.

Zaku's avatar

There is a significant danger in the case that there is a serious threat that US Strategic Command agrees with. If such a situation appears before Jan 20, and Trump is still in office, he would still be the one making the call on whether to launch a nuclear attack, and that is slightly scary.

But in the absence of a crisis, Strategic Command would see no reason to nuke anyone, and refuse it as an illegal order.

Trump being crazy in this context has been discussed and studied since 2017.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
Jeruba's avatar

Whether the codes are changed once a year or every twelve minutes, we should be worried. There are plenty of things short of a nuclear attack that can do massive damage. Torches and pitchforks, for example. Or a crazed mob with firearms.

How about a fleet of drones carrying explosives, or one nut case with a rifle or assault weapon? How do I know what my next-door neighbor has in his basement?

Kropotkin's avatar

They’re changed daily, and there’s no chance he gets to just launch them.

Trump is crass, a narcissist, politically naive and witless, and domestically he’s attracted and emboldened fascists (partly because they project their ideals onto him, and he can’t resist the attention they give him) but he’s been less psychopathic and murderous than practically all of his predecessors, so I wouldn’t worry about him launching a nuclear war.

When it comes to starting wars or even launching nukes, I’d be more worried about the senile platitude spewing grinning idiot you’re getting next.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
SEKA's avatar

Thanks one and all for the info. BTW @hello321 I don’t watch MSNBC for the exact same reason that I don’t watch Fox. They both have tunnel/trump vision and both are way to narrow for my liking. @elbanditoroso I’m most often watching The Nanny before I doze off to sleep. She’s funnier than cartoons and there’s only one episode that even mentions trump. Fortunately, that show went off the air before he started taking politics seriously

LadyMarissa's avatar

@SEKA Have you noticed that on the ONE episode he’s on, that they changed the dialog??? According to Fran Dresher, not long before he ran for president, he called up & insisted that in the one line where the Nanny comments ”You millionaires are all alike.” It had to be changed to say “You billionaires are all aike.”

JLeslie's avatar

I’m not nervous at all about this. I’m much more nervous about Inauguration Day.

SEKA's avatar

I wouldn’t want to be Joe Biden for 500 trillion gazillion dollars at this point. He says he trusts the Secret Service with his life & I hope they take good care of it. I don’t know that Id be brave enough to go to the ceremony. I’d be asking for a virtual swearing in I do believe

Dutchess_III's avatar

Joe and Kamala have to be 2 of the bravest humans on the planet.

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