With a follow-up to Tuesday's story, Martin Hellman writes "Slashdot reported that a system failure at Warren AFB in Wyoming affected 50 ICBMs and that 'various security protocols built into the missile delivery system, like intrusion alarms and warhead separation alarms, were offline.' Assuaging fears that America's nuclear deterrent might have been compromised during this failure, the source article notes that the missiles still could be launched from airborne command centers. Other reports cite an administration official offering assurances that 'at no time did the president's ability [to launch] decrease.' Given the difficulty of debugging software and hardware that is probably not a good thing. The history of nuclear command and control systems has too many examples of risky designs that favor the ability to launch over the danger of an accidental one."
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