This article was published in the Smithsonian magazine November 2014 by
Col. Michael R. Gallagher HILLSBORO, OREGON
It is just a cogent today, maybe even more so as it was back then.
Nuclear Football The notion of the nuclear football [“Nuclear Option”] as a “symbol of supreme authority” is profoundly disturbing. The need for an American president to order the immediate launch of a retaliatory strike before a significant portion of our nuclear forces were destroyed vanished with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the cold war. A relic of the MAD (mutual assured destruction) strategy, giving one man the power to kill tens of millions of people is an insult to the checks and balances so carefully woven into our government. While the time may not have come for the current nuclear football to move to a Smithsonian exhibit case, it is time for it to be retired to a locked vault, only to be activated if some future threat once again required consideration of an immediate nuclear response to an attack.
In a separate article titled The Real Story of the “Football” That Follows the President Everywhere. On October 2014 by Michael Dobbs for Smithsonian magazine offers mech more detail into what is in that bag.