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Pres. Trump has complete, unchecked authority to use nuclear weapons

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The mushroom cloud following the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan on Aug. 6, 1945.
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The military chain of command provides the president with complete authority to order the use of nuclear arms, Princeton researcher and Global Zero founder Bruce Blair tells DW. He also talks about potential objections.

DW: Does the US military chain of command give President Donald Trump the unilateral authority to order the use of nuclear weapons? 

Bruce Blair: The protocol that has been set up for this purpose is streamlined and designed for speed and efficiency, not for deliberation. And this protocol gives the president carte blanche - complete unchecked authority to order the use of nuclear weapons.

Now some people argue that that authority can violate the constitution if the president orders the first use of nuclear weapons, others say the constitution provides this authority through Article 2, which designates the president as commander of chief of the armed forces. So you get into a little bit of debate about what is constitutional or not. But the system, the protocol, is designed to allow for one person with a single verbal order to launch nuclear weapons.

Can you describe the nature of this protocol and how the use of nuclear weapons would be carried out in practice?

The way that would work is that the president would consult as he desires with his top advisors. He is not obliged to consult with anyone, including the Secretary of Defense or the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff or the national security adviser.

He likely would and the teleconference protocol has been designed to patch in his top advisors into a secure conference call if they are not in the room with him, including the commander of the strategic forces in Omaha, Nebraska. In this case he would have a discussion with his advisors if he chose to do so.

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