US Commander: Take Nukes Off High Alert or Risk Hackers Starting a War

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Retired Gen. James Cartwright — who was vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff before retiring in 2011 — told the Associated Press that “de-alerting” nuclear weapons could reduce the likelihood of launching them in response to a false attack warning.

Just adding a little more time necessary to launch — which would do nothing to affect the deterrent value of the weapons — could make all the difference, said Cartwright, who was also the head of Strategic Command from 2004 to 2007.

Cartwright said that its an idea that should be revisited since “the sophistication of the cyberthreat has increased exponentially” in recent years. Continue reading

U.S. Cuts Nuclear Warhead Levels

In compliance with New START, U.S. now has 1,597 treaty warheads; Russia, 1,582

Despite nuclear saber-rattling by Moscow, U.S. nuclear forces are close to reaching warhead, missile, and bomber numerical cuts required under the 2010 New START arms treaty, a senior Pentagon official told Congress on Wednesday.

U.S. nuclear warheads counted under the treaty with Russia were reduced from 1,642 to 1,597 between Sept. 1 and March 1, said Robert Scher, assistant secretary of defense for strategy, plans, and capabilities. Continue reading