A gigantic power that is controlled from a ‘simple’ leather briefcase. The football accompanies US President wherever you are.
From when he travels to a foreign country aboard Air Force One, to when he moves to neighboring Baltimore.
He is always accompanied by a simple, secure leather briefcase tied to the hand of a military man who happens to be the shadow of the president, along with members of the secret service.
Like the inauguration, the transfer of the briefcase between the outgoing and incoming president has been anything but normal.
Donald Trump traveled to Florida on the morning of the 20th with the nuclear briefcase on board the plane and Joe Biden received an extra one that is in reserve in Washington DC and the accessories that accompany it.
The nuclear needs soared during the Cold War, more as a material deterrent that one really applicable.
The United States and the Soviet Union were in a perpetual tense calm that was on the verge of breaking on some occasions with consequences that would have been fatal to humanity.
Fortunately, those tug of war never caught on in one attack and the briefcase has remained closed, although its technology has evolved.
The first president to have access to the nuclear briefcase was John F. Kennedy after the Cuban missile crisis.
The president wondered how the person receiving the message could order an imminent nuclear strike on the Joint War Room and how the person receiving the message could verify the authenticity of the order.
To solve this scenario, the briefcase was created, which was photographed for the first time in 1963, taken by a military man who was accompanying President Kennedy on a trip to Massachusetts.
From that moment on, it became the mandatory complement of all presidents. Once it is opened, the briefcase is only an intermediate step to identify that, indeed, it is the president who is on the other side of the communication line. A kind of two-step verification that connects directly to the Pentagon.
The ‘red button’ that everyone has heard of is nothing more than an urban legend.
The president of the United States cannot push a button and send a nuclear attack to whoever proposes it . The chain of command is much more complex and has certain guarantees.
The first barrier is the nuclear codes, also called Gold Codes, which are printed on a card (the biscuit) for the exclusive access of the president.
If the codes are correct and the president goes ahead with the idea of the attack, the order continues up the chain of command involving bomber planes, submarines and missile silos scattered around the world.
In addition, all processes must be confirmed by two people at the same time, a way of sharing the responsibility of going to the next phase and that does not depend exclusively on one.
Worldwide coverage of the United States Army guarantees, at least in principle, that the first attack has been completed just 30 minutes after the president gave the order, according to the Atomic Heritage Foundation.
“The president could launch any kind of devastating attack that the world has never seen. He doesn’t have to consult with anyone. He doesn’t have to call Congress. He doesn’t have to consult with the courts. He has that authority because of the nature of the world in the one we live in,” George W. Bush vice president Dick Cheney declared in 2008.
The detailed content of the nuclear briefcase is a secret although it is known that there is documentation, instructions for its use and a device to carry out communications with the Pentagon.
Zero Halliburton, a company based in Utah, is in charge of manufacturing, and it is estimated that there are 3 or 4 identical briefcases, one of them is kept close to the vice president while an additional one would be safely inside the White House as a replacement.
After sending the order and fully executing the launch of a nuclear missile, the president of the United States, the entire staff of his government and the most important military must board the plane of doomsday.
Although Air Force One is one of the safest personal transport aircraft in the world, the President has an even more armored one.
Whether the attacked country has a nuclear arsenal (with response capacity) or if the United States is the first to receive a missile of these characteristics, the aircraft is the best place to pass the battle.
That is why the Doomsday Plane was created, a Boeing 747 completely refurbished to withstand the electromagnetic pulse of a nuclear attack.
Instead of having all the electronic components of a modern airplane, as much analog equipment as possible is used. Much more resistant to that radiation ‘storm’ resulting from the use of nuclear weapons.
The United States Air Force has several aircraft of this type operating and on continuous alert 24 hours a day, 365 days a year so that selected members can access and take refuge in flight.
Although the equipment is secret, it is known that it can stay up to 7 days in the air thanks to its in-flight refueling capacity.
In fact, it’s limited to those days because engines end up running out of oil.
The aircraft automatically becomes the military command center when it flies in times of war. From the plane, you can directly contact the fleet of submarines with nuclear capacity that the United States has spread throughout the world.
Football incoming. pic.twitter.com/Ww4wz1GbIE
— Mike DeBonis (@mikedebonis) January 20, 2021