I don’t know if any of you watched 60 minutes earlier this evening, but I did – and I find this really, really, scary: “. . . one person and one person only — the president of the United States — can give the order to launch a nuclear weapon.” I know that you already knew this; you’ve known it for many, many, years – but you never really think about it. Well, think about it now, and about the forthcoming presidential election and who might be sitting in the White House should it ever become necessary to give that fateful order!
Preview: The New Cold War
60 Minutes takes viewers inside the U.S. nuclear arsenal for a rare look at the military practicing the unthinkable
- 2016Sep 16
The next president will become commander-in-chief at a time when a new Cold War is brewing and both the U.S. and Russia still keep enough nuclear weapons on alert to end civilization. In a story to be broadcast on 60 Minutes Sunday, Sept. 18 7:30 p.m. ET and 7 p.m. PT, viewers will get a close up view of America’s nuclear arsenal and the extraordinary measures the U.S. military takes to make sure that one person and one person only — the president of the United States — can give the order to launch a nuclear weapon.
Pentagon correspondent David Martin and cameras went aboard the USS Kentucky, a ballistic missile submarine which hides beneath the ocean, waiting for an order from the president to launch some of the nearly 200 nuclear warheads it is capable of carrying. Asked if his submarine has ever been detected during one of its undersea patrols, the Kentucky’s captain, Cdr. Brian Freck, does not hesitate. “No. Not even close.”
Martin and his team also went inside Strategic Command headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska, the nerve center for U.S. nuclear forces. They went three stories underground to the Global Operations Center and interviewed the man in charge of the nation’s nuclear arsenal, Admiral Cecil Haney, who would speak directly to the president in a crisis, recommending specific options for a nuclear strike. “Would they tell him what kinds of weapons you would use and what targets you would hit?” Martin asks. “They would be that specific, yes,” Haney replies. “Would they give him an estimate of casualties?” “We would have to give the president answers to a lot of questions,” says Haney. “That’s one I would expect to get.”
I’ve never heard of Admiral Cecil Haney before tonight, but after watching 60 minutes, I looked him up.
In his current assignment, Admiral Haney serves as the senior commander of unified military forces from all four branches of the military assigned to USSTRATCOM, and is the leader, steward and advocate of the nation’s strategic capabilities. In a special, free program featuring an interview by PMML President & CEO Ken Clarke, Commander Haney shares his experiences and discusses the important role played by USSTRATCOM in the modern American military and government. Presented in partnership with the United States Strategic Command.
Located at Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha, Nebraska, U.S. Strategic Command is one of nine unified commands in the Department of Defense, and is responsible for the global command and control of U.S. strategic forces to meet decisive national security objectives, providing a broad range of strategic capabilities and options for the President and Secretary of Defense.
USSTRATCOM combines the synergy of the U.S. legacy nuclear command and control mission with responsibility for space operations; global strike; global missile defense; and global command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR), and combating weapons of mass destruction. This dynamic command gives National Leadership a unified resource for greater understanding of specific threats around the world and the means to respond to those threats rapidly.
ADMIRAL CECIL D. HANEY is Commander of U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM), one of nine Unified Commands under the Department of Defense. Before taking Command at USSTRATCOM in November 2013, he was Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet from January 2012 to October 2013. He served as Deputy Commander, USSTRATCOM, from November 2010 to December 2011. Haney commanded Submarine Group 2 from October 2006 to March 2008, and Submarine Squadron 1 from June 2002 to July 2004. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7_f5Hvv8Uc).
According to CBS News, “Head of the U.S. Strategic Command, Haney is the most powerful military officer you’ve never heard of – in command not just of the nation’s nuclear forces but its space satellites and cyber weapons as well.” (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/60-minutes-new-cold-war-nuclear-weapons-david-martin/)