Nearly three dozen House Democrats have written a letter to President Joe Biden urging him to relinquish the sole ability to launch nuclear weapons. The letter was posted on Twitter by Politico. It is currently not a requirement for the President to meet with advisors before ordering a launch of nuclear power. The military is required to honor the strike as long as it goes along with the Laws of War. 

change nuclear weapons policy

The Letter About Nuclear Weapons

According to Fox News the letter says “…Vesting one person with this authority entails real risks.” It goes on to say “Past presidents have threatened to attack other countries with nuclear weapons or exhibited behavior that caused other officials to express concern about the president’s judgment.”  This is referring to the fear that Former President Donald Trump would start a nuclear war in 2017 when the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a public hearing on the subject.The other concern is that any President coming into office has the sole authority to start a nuclear war. “While any president would presumably consult with advisors before ordering a nuclear attack, there is no requirement to do so,” the letter adds. “The military is obligated to carry out the order if they assess it is legal under the laws of war. Under the current posture of U.S. nuclear forces, that attack would happen in minutes.” How would the military react to an order that was illegal? 

How Would The Military Handle A Request To Launch Nuclear Weapons?

According to Officer, Gen. John Hyten, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the military will only follow legal orders. “I provide advice to the president,” Hyten said. “He’ll tell me what to do, and if it’s illegal, guess what’s going to happen? I’m gonna say, ‘Mr. President, that’s illegal.’ Guess what he’s going to do? He’s going to say, ‘What would be legal?’ And we’ll come up with options of a mix of capabilities to respond to whatever the situation is, and that’s the way it works. It’s not that complicated.”  This seems to make it hard for a President to start a Nuclear War but it’s not impossible for them to launch Nuclear Weapons. Why does the President have this authority in the first place?  

Why Does One Person Have The Ability To Launch Nuclear Weapons? 

During the Cold War, the idea of nuclear war meant having to respond, by launching our Nuclear Weapons, within minutes to Soviet weapons coming towards the United States. Time would be of the essence making sense to leave the decision to one person. You wouldn’t need time-consuming consultations with Congress. The letter gives suggestions such as the President receiving approval from the Line of Succession, such as the Vice President and the Speaker of the House before they are able to launch Nuclear Weapons. The letter adds that “neither of whom can be removed by the President if they disagree to concur with a launch order.” Is changing this policy constitutional? 

nuclear weapons policy change

Is Changing The Policy For Launching Nuclear Weapons Unconstitutional? 

Republican Senator, Mike Lee, of Utah said on Fox and Friends that it is weird and unconstitutional to change the launch code policy that gives the President the power to launch Nuclear Weapons. “Look, there is one argument or another with regard to whether or to what extent we ought to be involved in foreign conflicts at any moment. One could have one opinion or another about at what point it is appropriate for Congress to declare war rather than have the president order discreet strikes. The fact is the president is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. This is why we subject presidents to a very rigorous review process. That is they have to win elections. Once they’ve won an election you really do have to pick that horse and then ride it. You’ve gotta let the president be the commander-in-chief…” Democratic Senator John Tester says we have to cut older weapon systems that are no longer effective and the world has moved past. Do you believe the world has “moved past” Nuclear Weapons?