Those familiar with the nuclear briefings say they demand a sharp focus.Clearly this is the set up to an awful and inevitable punchline. And that's even before we add Trump to the equation. Now that he's there, though. Well..
“It’s not something that someone even with vast experience can easily digest,” said Leon Panetta, a former secretary of defense intimately familiar with the briefings.
“He’s got to be ready from the get-go to respond if necessary,” Panetta said. “There really is a long process, a classified process, that involves a lot of checks in the system to make sure no mistakes are made. It involves a number of key people.”
From the day Trump takes the oath of office, a military aide will shadow him everywhere, carrying a black satchel containing the system to convey a nuclear launch order. The satchel is popularly known as “the football.”Everyone in grown-up media world is lecturing everyone else about paying too much attention to random shit Trump tweets out. But I kind of think this is a perfect week to be watching. You never know what he might post.
“His first briefing will be just about how the process works: ‘There will be a military aide with you at all times and he has the football,’ ” said P.J. Crowley, a retired Air Force officer and special assistant on national security affairs to former President Bill Clinton.
Trump will learn how a launch order would “send key people to underground bunkers,” Crowley said. “That’s a critical dimension of this. Even for the Strategic Command out in Nebraska, this would send an airborne command up in the air.”
The black satchel operates with a dual key system, and part of the system is for the president to take a card from his pocket to input the correct codes.
“The card itself is critical to begin the process that activates the system,” Panetta said.