[Cryptography] "U.S. Has Made ‘Dramatic Change’ in Technology Used for Nuclear Code System"

Henry Baker hbaker1 at pipeline.com
Sat Oct 22 16:24:02 EDT 2022

-----Original Message-----
From: Phillip Hallam-Baker <phill at hallambaker.com>
Sent: Oct 22, 2022 11:38 AM
To: Peter Gutmann <pgut001 at cs.auckland.ac.nz>
Cc: cryptography <cryptography at metzdowd.com>
Subject: Re: [Cryptography] "U.S. Has Made ‘Dramatic Change’ in Technology Used for Nuclear Code System"


On Mon, Oct 17, 2022 at 9:02 AM Peter Gutmann <pgut001 at cs.auckland.ac.nz (mailto:pgut001 at cs.auckland.ac.nz)> wrote:
Jerry Leichter <leichter at lrw.com (mailto:leichter at lrw.com)> writes:

>Apparently something about the whole presidential approval system for nuclear
>war has been completely changed very recently

Maybe the timing of the change is just coincidence, but perhaps the prospect
of a president ordering a nuclear strike on a hurricane motivated a top-to-
bottom revamp of the authorisation process.  I would imagine that a convenient
side-effect of this tech upgrade is that it's now a lot harder to do anything
without adult supervision.

No, this has been in the works for over a decade. The Air Force was upset that their launch computers used 8" floppy disks with the attendant parts supply issues for the CPU.
While this is a different system, it is likely part of the same appropriation.
Besides the computing issue, there is an issue of the warhead having to be remanufactured every so often as certain bits decay. The history here is that after the Soviet Union collapsed, the US agreed a deal with Russia in which the other former Soviet states gave their warheads to Russia which then dismantled them, diluted the uranium isotopes back to reactor grade and sold them to the US for fuel. This is the reason that Russia became the major source of uranium to fuel its nuclear reactors.
The original plan was that the US and Russia would then agree to reduce from their current ~2000 warheads each to more like 250. This would in turn mean China would not need to get into a nuclear race with either. Which of course fell apart round about the invasion of Iraq and the ascension of Putin. The Obama Russia reset was never expected to work but was done to demonstrate that the US had made a good faith offer. Since then Putin has been boasting about a large array of weapons that the experts I have talked to considered to be 'pure bullshit' long before we found out how well Russian equipment really works in Ukraine.
We know quite a bit about the contents of the football. The options it presents are deliberately limited because of the cognitive overload issue. Reportedly, Carter ex sub vet, was the only President to really study the issue really hard and had the staff provide simplified options etc. They rehearse use under high fidelity conditions etc. I think we can be absolutely 100% certain that the target options do not include hurricanes and never have.
While it is called the 'nuclear' football, the retaliation options are not limited to nuclear. The options are described as 'rare', 'medium' and 'well done'.
Weight is 45lbs and as far as I can tell, it is the 6" deep version of the Zero Halliburton briefcase. So it seems that there is more than just two books and a manilla folder. 

Don't want to mix up the Zero Halliburton briefcases:


"According to the report, members of the Russian president’s Federal Protection Service (FPS) are responsible for collecting his bodily waste in specialised packets which are then placed in a *dedicated briefcase* for the journey home"

[I wouldn't be surprised if *all* world leaders follow this same protocol in our cheap DNA sequenced
world; although I wouldn't want to be the 'bag check' person at the United Nations.  :-)
A totally different type of "nuclear" war.]

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