Union of Concerned Scientists
"If the attack is believed to come from a submarine, the President will be told that he then
has as little as 10 seconds to make the decision whether or not to launch a responsive nuclear
attack. This is because the nuclear warheads delivered by a SLBM will arrive in slightly more
than four more minutes." - Physicians For Social Responsibility
"An emergency conference involving the presidents and their top nuclear advisors would be convened, whereupon on the U.S. side the commanding duty officer at Strategic Command headquarters in Omaha would brief the U.S. president on the nature of the apparent attack, the wide array of response options, and their anticipated consequences for Russian physical and human resources. The time allocated for this briefing is about 30 seconds depending on the nature of the attack. The U.S. president then would come under intense pressure to absorb this complex set of data, weigh the consequences of the various options, and choose a course of action." - Bruce Blair, nuclear security expert and retired ICBM launch control officer
"However, there are at least four other less well-known incidents in which the superpowers geared up for nuclear annihilation. Those incidents differed from the Cuban missile crisis in a significant way: They occurred when either the U.S. or Soviet or Russian leaders had to respond to false alarms from nuclear warning systems that malfunctioned or misinterpreted benign events. All four incidents were very brief, probably lasting less than 10 minutes each." - PBS
"The decision to either launch a responsive nuclear counter strike, or ride out the attack, must be made in less time than it takes for the (perceived) incoming ICBM/SLBM attack to arrive. Otherwise the incoming warheads will likely destroy most of the ground-based forces, along with the nuclear command and control system (and leadership) necessary to coordinate and launch a nuclear counterstrike – assuming the attack is real. A launch in response to a false warning will result in accidental nuclear war." - Physicians For Social Responsibility
[T]he nominal flight time of a ballistic missile traveling between the U.S. and Russia is about 30 minutes; it is 12 minutes for a missile launched by a submarine stationed off the coast. These short flight times define and dictate how much “Presidential decision-making time” is available for the President to decide whether or not to launch a nuclear strike in response to the perceived attack. - Physicians For Social Responsibility
"For the United States, the alert forces include all but a few of its 450 silo-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), each armed with one warhead, and a comparable number of warheads on submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) on the four to five submarines that are kept within range of their targets. The ICBMs can be launched within a couple minutes of a presidential decision to do so, and the SLBMs within 15 minutes." - Union of Concerned Scientists
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