Not a good type of football

I’m angrier than a Catholic priest who just ran out of wafers over the fact that we as a nation are not prepared for World War III.  Well, on paper we are, but in reality?  Not so much.  I have written about World War III quite often on this website and this article will be no different.

It’s important to face reality and at least know what will happen if Russia decides to do what it’s been threatening to do, which is start World War III.  Actually, the reason that they haven’t done so is because Putin is a chicken.  He talks a big game, but will never have the balls to do it.Perhaps you should read this article and watch the presentation that I discussed there.  What you also need to know is that launching missiles is just part of what’s called the triad.  But you can read about that on your own/

Now, when World III starts, a lot of things will happen and what I’m going to discuss here is not in any way classified.  It’s all over internet, because our government wants everyone to know what the enemy will be up against should they challenge us.

Essentially, the very basic steps are this:

  • Our satellites will detect a nuclear launch within seconds.
  • Our military’s defense system will be notified.
  • The appropriate people, including the president, will be informed.
  • The president will be ambushed by aides and the Secret Service.

One of the people who will be first to be near the president is the military officer who’s carrying a satchel that’s informally called the nuclear football. That officer, by the way, has the highest security clearance possible, called Yankee White.

That clearance is necessary because the officer will be near the president at all times (to left: Pres. Nixon with the aide holding the football behind him) and he will see and hear highly classified information.  Not just anyone can get a YW clearance, so you can rest assured that that officer is squeaky clean.  When I was in the Army, I had a security clearance, but nowhere near the level of YW.

There is such an officer near the president no matter where he may be at all times when he’s outside of the White House.  When he’s in the White House, he will be rushed to a bunker that’s underneath the White House.

There’s plenty more that happens, such as the president being informed of his retaliatory actions.  For the purposes of this article, let’s assume that the president is at an elementary school reading about a talking duck to kindergarten students.

He will be rushed away and the nuclear football will be opened.  It’s actually the Presidential Emergency Satchel, but that doesn’t really matter.  This video gives a real look into what happens when that satchel is opened and when seconds count.

After all, if the Russians actually grow some balls and launch at us, we need to get our retaliatory missiles in the air before their missiles arrive, in about twenty minutes.

When everything goes down, about ten minutes will have gone by, which means the president has less than five minutes to make a decision and set into action a domino effect that will culminate in keys being turned by airmen in silos and that will put the missiles in the air.

Again, this is not a detailed accounting, just a very, very broad overview.  What I want to show here is that every second counts, because we want to wipe out the country who wiped out ours.

Both our allies and their allies will likely also launch, which means that World War III will be over in about an hour.  Millions of lives will end in vaporization in less than a fraction of a fraction of a second and billions more will die over the course of three days in a very painful, bloody way.

There will be those who will be lucky enough to be in a bunker, but sooner or later, they’ll have to come out of their hidey holes.

So, that satchel, or football, whatever you want to call it comes into play within minutes.  Everything the president needs is in that bag.  In there will be a list of retaliatory actions the president can choose from, ranging from the kitchen sink to launching one or two low-yield missiles.  The president reaches a decision with the help of his trusted aides.  In addition to that list of retaliatory options is a classified book that shows various targets around the world.

Once the president has chosen his option, he will need to authenticate himself using the “biscuit,” which is a list of authentication codes that he is to carry at all times.  He’ll need so that he can be verified as truly being the president so that his orders can be carried out.  Once he’s been verified, the orders go out to the various silos, each with two Air Force officers waiting for orders.

Then, there is information for the president to activate the Emergency Alert System.  All properly licensed television and radio stations are mandated to participate.  As a result, the president, or a representative he appoints, will address the nation and give instructions.

However, the reality is that, for most Americans, there will be little to no time to react.  So, on paper, it looks like the EAS will help, but in the event that a launch has already happened, it’s pretty much useless.  And I can tell you that by experience.

Now, if there’s time to react, that’s a different story.  The Emergency Alert system will become more effective with more time.  For example, if it’s decided that something is likely to happen within an hour, the president can activate the EAS and there might be time for some people to react.  Things can be calmly done.  Our missiles will be on warm standby, waiting for the enemy to launch first.

When I was a master control operator at television stations, I was trained to conduct weekly tests and how to react to real alerts.  The way things are set up, once the president puts the EAS into motion, he will essentially “seize” control of all stations, with no intervention necessary at the local level.  At least, that’s how it should work if the stations’ EAS equipment is properly installed.  Seconds count, and taking the manual intervention out of the equation will warn people quicker.

Once the decisions have been made and the authentications are successful, the men and women (here’s a news report about what’s actually going on down there.  There’s also this.) in the silos get authentication codes that they will use to verify the orders are coming from the president and the codes they’ll need to plug into their computers so that the missiles know where to go.

After that comes a series of steps which need to be done accurately and quickly will end with both officers turning keys to prep the missiles to go into the air.  Here’s an actual drill done in the 1980’s, which means it was done during the Cold War, where we were always minutes away from nuclear winter.

But, both people in two silos will need to turn their keys so that no one person can vote to end the world.  Once those keys are turned, it’s too late to pull back: the missiles are in the air, and the world will end within the next two hours.

Anyway, that’s a very quick and dirty explanation of what will happen once that football opens, so let’s get back to the satchel.  The way that things are set up currently, the president can give the necessary orders and, once he’s authenticated, no one can challenge him.

This is likely because he is the commander-in-chief of all branches of our military.  It’s kind of scary on the on hand, but on the other hand, seconds count, and we need to trust that our president will make the decision to launch wisely.

There have been several times when the football has been compromised, the most famous being when President Reagan was shot.  He was rushed to the hospital and his shirt was torn off.  He had the biscuit hidden in his shoe and when they took his shoes off, the biscuit was left behind on the emergency room floor.  There’s not much you could do if you’d been the one to find it.

You may have his challenge codes, but you can’t do a damn thing with them.  That being said, if you stumble across highly classified information, even through no fault of your own, you could wind up executed by our government.  So be careful.

Hopefully, after you’ve read this article, you know a little bit about the football.  Here’s one more video about the satchel.  It’s nice to see the bag that could end the world as we know it.  Nuclear doom in a bag.  Isn’t it a comforting thought?


(Photo credit: public domain)