For John, BLUF: The football is the 45 pound briefcase that accompanies the President everywhere, with the options and the ability to transmit a nuclear release message. Nothing to see here; just move along.
By Reporter Joe Gould, 3 January 2018, in Defense News.
Here is the lede plus three:
U.S. lawmakers are offering legislation to limit President Donald Trump’s ability to launch a nuclear first strike after he heckled North Korea’s leader about the comparative size of his “nuclear button.”I wonder why our Junior Senator didn't stumble upon this "No one person" thing when Mr Barack Obama was President? Senator Ed Markey has been in office since July of 2013. Did it take the election of President Trump to awaken him, or maybe the continuing outbursts from Korean Leader Kim Jung-un?
Democratic Sen. Ed Markey, of Massachusetts, and Rep. Ted Lieu, of California, have sponsored legislation that would require the president to receive congressional approval before initiating a first-use nuclear strike from the United States.
The two took to Twitter to rally support for their legislation after Trump bragged in a tweet Tuesday evening that he had a “much bigger” button than North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
“No one person should have the power to decide when the U.S. will be the first to use nuclear weapons,” Markey’s tweet reads in part. Retweet, if you agree, he asked; and as of Wednesday morning, more than 3,800 had.
I do wonder if this rule should apply only in peacetime or if Senator Markey (and Rep Lieu) intend for the President's hands to be tied even if we are in a war with a nuclear power. I bet the Chinese would see something like this as undermining deterrence on the part of the United States. That wouldn't be good.
Then there is this: "Bill Clinton once lost the nuclear codes for months, and a 'comedy of errors' kept anyone from finding out". I think we are referring to the "biscuit", the codes the President keeps with him to identify himself for sending out signals to begin transmittal of the "release message" (EAM or Emergency Action Message). As opposed to the "football".
The overall process is described by The Old Gray Lady in a 3 Jan 2018 article.
Regards — Cliff