The US nuclear strike and Austin's absence: what could have happened?

The US Secretary of Defense's implicit absence from prostate cancer surgery Lloyd Austin It is turning not only into a national political issue, but also into an international political issue.

Flaw in procedures? What the Austin case teaches

As the wave of Republican accusations mounts, Austin hides behind brief, succinct communications calling for the right to Privacy: “I realize I could have done a better job ensuring the public was adequately informed. I am committed to doing better. But it's important to say: This was my process and I take full responsibility for my decisions about disclosureHis case has, in effect, opened a Pandora's box of exceptions, revealing a series of uncertainties in the protocols that threaten to affect a chain of command as delicate as those in the United States of America. Indeed, in an attempt to exploit the case, several former American constitutionalists have cited The general Eric Smith, Commandant of the Marine Corps, was hospitalized after suffering a heart attack on October 29: on that occasion the Ministry of Defense issued a statement within a few hours. A legal mix-up forced the president to rush Joe Biden I ask the White House Chief of Staff to activate the necessary measures to…Make sure this doesn't happen again“.

Austin intervened and transferred power to the MP

Concerns and disagreements revolve not only around the individual case, but also around the general management of communications between the Pentagon and the White House, which are the pillars of national (and international) security. Since the state of exception also explains the joint functioning of things, the first idea undoubtedly goes to the most extreme case: what would have happened if the United States had been forced to unleash Nuclear attack Even while his Defense Minister was lying under anesthesia in the operating room? The answer is: nothing.

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Austin had previously been hospitalized on December 22 for a prostatectomy and underwent surgery under general anesthesia at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Subsequently, postoperative complications developed which required further hospitalization on January 1 in intensive care. Only then would General Lloyd pass the baton to him Kathleen Hicks (who was meanwhile on vacation in Puerto Rico), his second-in-command, transported them.”Executive authorities at the strategic level“, although there is no information about the general's hospitalization. Like President Biden and the entire National Security Council, he would not have found out until later. This generates a second question: Was Hicks actually able to cover the temporary mission, without being aware of it? And its real repercussions?

How the American chain of command works

Think about the answer to the question Stephen Schwartzmember big Subordinate Bulletin of the Atomic ScientistsThis left room for controversy and corruption Useful uses of the story Which, although it showed mere glimpses of opportunity, rightness, and transparency, would not affect the chain of command in the event of a Nuclear attack. The first point to be made is how long Washington may have to decide on a response First use: It is estimated that ballistic missiles leave the United States about 30 minutes (or less) to formulate a response.

The Minister of Defense, in this case, is not part of Chain of command It has no official role in authorizing the use of nuclear weapons. He is merely an advisor to the President, who is and will remain the sole Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. Just like the Commander of Strategic Command (who is in the chain of command), his approval is not only not required, but he is not permitted any revocation of a presidential order to use nuclear weapons. Joe Biden And his predecessors (with the Vice President) are the only ones who brought with him the so-called “”biscuit“, a card containing the codes that identify him as President and which allow him to order a nuclear attack and authorize the National Military Command Center. In addition to cookies, “Nuclear football“, the legendary Zero Hallibrurton black leather briefcase follows the resident of the White House in all his movements, allowing him to give the attack order when he is not in office. Thus, the temporary or permanent incapacitation of the Secretary of Defense, would not interrupt the chain of command at all, let alone At most, the president would be deprived of a senior advisor.

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