Questioning Unitary Command: Nuclear Launch Authority and the N-Person Problem

In this segment, Dr. Alex Wellerstein sketches a framework for thinking about how concentrated nuclear use authority should be at the top. While he discusses specific U.S. proposals for reform in response to recent domestic debates, the scope of his analysis is uniquely global, and includes a comparative analysis of the approach of all nine nuclear weapons states. Global NC3 systems are historically constituted and contextualized, the result of considerable debate and experimentation over time within nuclear states. This fact points to their necessary adaptability, and to the opportunity for novel approaches going forward. Using a global perspective, the framework presented by Dr. Wellerstein within this segment could provide inspiration for alternative, perhaps less risky nuclear command and control arrangements.

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