The president of the United States has the sole authority to launch nuclear weapons at any time and for any reason. While the order must be confirmed by the Defense Secretary, that position has no veto power and is bound to comply, as the confirmation simply serves to verify that the order comes from the president.
Some three dozen House Democrats have signed a letter requesting US President Joe Biden relinquish sole authority to launch nuclear weapons, according to a Wednesday Politico report.
The initiative was rolled out by Representative Jimmy Panetta, who said he is calling on Biden to “install checks & balances in our nuclear command-and-control structure.”
Panetta outlines that, even though it is assumed that a president would consult with advisers before ordering a nuclear attack, there are no “requirements” that oblige him to do so. He notes that “the military is obligated to carry out the order if they assess it is legal under the laws of war”, referring to the obligation of US Defense Secretary to verify such order.
As an alternative to a possible nuclear attack order scenario, House Democrats rolled out a suggestion to require other officials, such as the speaker of the house and the vice president – currently Nancy Pelosi and Kamala Harris, respectively – to approve the order.
Democrats outlined that neither of the two top officials “can be removed by the president if they disagree.”
Currently, the president is capable of…