The President and Nuclear Weapons: Authorities, Limits, and Process

Nuclear Threat Initiative, 2019

33 Pages Posted: 4 Jun 2020

See all articles by Mary DeRosa

Mary DeRosa

Georgetown University Law Center

Ashley Nicolas

Georgetown University Law Center

Date Written: December 10, 2019

Abstract

There is no more consequential decision for a president than ordering a nuclear strike. In the Cold War, the threat of sudden nuclear annihilation necessitated procedures emphasizing speed and efficiency and placing sole decision-making authority in the president’s hands. In today’s changed threat environment, the legal authorities and process a U.S. president would confront when making this grave decision merit reexamination. This paper serves as a resource in the national discussion about a president’s legal authority and the procedures for ordering a nuclear strike, and whether to update them.

Keywords: Presidential Power, Nuclear Weapons, National Security, Constitutional Law

Suggested Citation

DeRosa, Mary and Nicolas, Ashley, The President and Nuclear Weapons: Authorities, Limits, and Process (December 10, 2019). Nuclear Threat Initiative, 2019, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3595440

Mary DeRosa (Contact Author)

Georgetown University Law Center ( email )

600 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
United States

Ashley Nicolas

Georgetown University Law Center ( email )

600 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
United States

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