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Time to rethink nuclear chain of command

February 5, 2021
Pleasanton Weekly

On Jan. 8, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke to the Pentagon about “preventing an unstable president” from ordering a nuclear strike.

Her concern centered on the un-hindered ability of any U.S. President to launch nuclear weapons. No one else legally, or practically, is in the chain of command. Anyone who fails to carry out such an order risks severe consequences for breaking the law.

Few other countries place nuclear use authority in the hands of one person. Russia does not; its system requires a second vote in addition to its President’s.

Sole authority was considered necessary by the U.S. during the Cold War. However, in the hands of an unstable POTUS, the risk is unacceptable — thus Pelosi’s concern.

We are fortunate no pre-emptive nuclear launch has occurred. However, when it comes to nuclear weapons, depending on luck is no comfort. It’s time to rethink this decision-making process before catastrophic consequences result.

Mary Perner,


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