Friday, January 20, 2017

Book: Command and Control

Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety Schlosser, Eric, details how fragile nuclear weapons safety is.

My highlights:
Thousands of nuclear warheads still sit atop missiles belonging to the United States and Russia, ready to be launched at a moment’s notice.

[p.194] Amid the chaos following an explosion, it might not be clear that the blast had been caused by a technical malfunction, human error, a madman, or saboteurs. The country where the detonation occurred might think that a surprise attack had begun and retaliate. Its adversary, fearing that sort of retaliation, might try to strike first.

[p.199] …“military-industrial complex,” a set of powerful interest groups that threatened American democracy and sought new weapons regardless of the actual need.

[p.224] By 1962 all of the integrated circuits in the United States were being purchased by the Department of Defense,

[p.302] Once the Soviets felt confident that they could retaliate after being attacked, they’d feel much less pressure to strike first.

[p.305] “War is never ‘cost-effective,’” LeMay argued. “People are killed. To them the war is total.”

[p.330] The charring of a circuit board could transform its fiberglass from an insulator into a conductor of electricity.

[p.465] Again and again, safety problems were hidden not only from the public but also from the officers and enlisted personnel who handled nuclear weapons every day.

[p.466] The need to protect national security has long been used as a justification for hiding things to avoid embarrassment.

No comments: