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Trump's power to launch nuclear strike under scrutiny

15 Noviembre 2017

A Senate committee thinks it's time to look closely at who controls the U.S. nuclear arsenal and procedures for its use. During the Oct. 30 hearing, he pressed Mattis on whether he could contemplate a scenario in which Trump authorized a nuclear strike on a country that didn't first launch a nuclear attack on the United States. "Let's just recognize the exceptional nature of this moment". Kehler, who served as the head of Strategic Command from January 2011 to November 2013, said the legal principles of military necessity, distinction and proportionality also apply to decisions about nuclear weapons use.

"I want the president to act in a way that acknowledges input from a lot of experts, and not to act based on a Twitter post", said Sen.

After the hearing, Corker said that he expects congress to continue to review questions about the President's authority "because it is a sobering issue".

Chris Murphy, Democratic senator from Connecticut, said: "We are concerned that the president of the United Status is so unstable, is so volatile, has a decision-making process that is so quixotic, that he might order a nuclear weapons strike that is wildly out of step with US national security interests".

"If there is an illegal order presented to the military, the military is obligated to refuse to follow it", Kehler said in response to Sen.

Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the chamber's foreign relations committee, has expressed fears that the president was taking the country "on the path to world war III". "It's really the four-stars and the secretary who need to bear that burden". Trump himself has had multiple briefings on the nuclear launch cycle and more conventional, non-nuclear alternatives.

US President Donald Trump in Washington
EPAThe Senate is due to look at the powers the US President has for issuing a nuclear strike

The assurances came at the first congressional hearings since 1976 on presidential authority to order the use of the US nuclear arsenal, against a background of mounting concern over North Korea's nuclear programme - and Donald Trump's emotional stability. "I think it will be very informative to the American people and the rest of the Senate about what powers the President has - should, shouldn't have, whatever".

LEWIS: If you're going to give the commander in chief nuclear weapons, you are accepting, to a certain degree, that the commander in chief is going to be able to use those weapons as he or she sees fit.

Between all three counties, that's more than 1,900 nuclear warheads. There is the human factor in our system. He simply can order up their use to the Pentagon war room, and they will carry out the order. He will testify alongside General C. Robert Kehler, former commander of the United States Strategic Command, and Brian McKeon, former acting undersecretary for policy at the U.S. Department of Defense.

The president would communicate his decision and transmit his authorization through a device called the nuclear football, a suitcase carried by a military aide.

"If we saw they were preparing to do so and it was imminent, I could imagine it. It's not the only tool in the toolkit to try to address something like that", Mattis said. "I think the system is designed to protect the first or second lieutenant, the 23-year-old Air Force officer sitting in a launch control center, from having to make that grave decision".

Trump's power to launch nuclear strike under scrutiny