POTUS has sole authority to order nuclear weapons launch, that order cannot be countermanded by SecDef @wellerstein https://t.co/jV3SCGUkFA— William J. Perry (@SecDef19) August 8, 2017
Bruce G. Blair, a former Minuteman missile-launch officer and research scholar at Princeton University’s Program on Science and Global Security, told Business Insider that the answer, essentially, is yes.
Blair pointed to a step-by-step outline of the nuclear chain of command which he helped describe in Bloomberg earlier this year.
Here's what would happen, according to Blair: The president would consult with top military brass about the use of a nuclear weapon. The president would come to a decision. The order would be verified and officially issued. The launch crews would take over. And, finally, the missiles would be deployed.
If the threat wasn't imminent, he said it would likely take a few days to prepare the weapons. But, if in the middle of a sustained conflict during which nuclear weapons had been on the table as a last resort, the process would be vastly accelerated — missiles could be in the air within a window as small as 15 minutes.
Congress could do nothing to stop the decision if it were made in haste, Blair said.Click here for a scenario.