Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety

Category: Americas
Author: Eric Schlosser
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by gxqoz   2022-04-10
Perhaps you might want to read Command and Control, a book about the terrifying history of near misses in terms of nuclear weapons. It may well be true that nuclear weapons have reduced hot wars. But it can be equally true that had a few small things gone a different way, the world could have been subjected to an even more horrible nuclear war. And this is still very much the situation.

by killjoywashere   2022-03-06
Have a read of Eric Schlosser's book, Command and Control

The ways we could end up in a nuclear war are frightening to the point of madness.

by killjoywashere   2022-02-28
I'm reading Eric Schlosser's Command and Control right now (1). Housing becomes quite elastic in the face of bombing. Fred Iklé actually developed a formula based on WW2 Germany for RAND:

Fully compensating increase in housing density = (P1 - F) / (H2) - (P1 / H1)

* P1 = Population of city before destruction

* P2 = Population of city after destruction

* H1 = Housing units before destruction

* H2 = Housing units after destruction

* F = Fatalities

The tipping point seemed to be reached when about 70% of a city's homes were destroyed. That's when people began to leave en masse and seek shelter in the countryside.


by teeray   2021-12-13
Command & Control[0] details the stupid mistakes very well. There were many, many glitches.


by res0nat0r   2021-02-27
On the contrary, the USA has accidently dropped nuclear missiles from planes, and have experience all kinds of other incompetence over the decades.

by joshuahedlund   2021-01-28
Obligatory recommendation of the riveting book Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety by Eric Schlosser

by TigeriusKirk   2021-01-12
Another similar book is Command And Control by Eric Schlosser.

It goes into a lot of detail about how nuclear weapons and their control systems evolved. Covers a number of accidents and near apocalypses along the way. One of my favorite books of the last decade, informative and very readable at the same time.

by iaw   2020-11-21
If you take Command and Control[0] to be an authoritative source, then no I don't believe so. We've come close to accidentally launching on both sides but no combat deployment has occurred, if it did it would likely be the end of our current civilization.


by teeray   2020-01-19
Command and Control by Eric Schlosser[0] was a fascinating (and chilling) read about many of the incidents people have mentioned in the comments here. It focuses closely on the 374-7 Damascus Incident, but covers many many other “Broken Arrow”[1] incidents that have occurred.

It’s not a short read, but it’s eye-opening from the engineering perspective that nuclear arsenals are wildly complicated beasts with on-going maintenance, like any machine.

EDIT: It’s also available as a documentary on Netflix[2] Not as in-depth, but it covers the Damascus incident pretty well.




by uid_0   2019-08-24

If you want to read more with some amazing technical details of the Titan silos, I highly recommend Eric Schlosser's book "Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety". It's a compelling read.

by Phallic_Moron   2019-08-24

For supplemental reading, check out Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, The Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Nuclear Safety. By Eric Schlosser. A Pulitzer finalist.

There is also a documentary on Netflix(?) about the Damascus Accident, where a liquid fueled ICBM exploded inside the silo.

by dog_in_the_vent   2019-08-24

There was infighting between proponents of nuclear safety and proponents of nuclear readiness in SAC and Los Alamos. Some people wanted to have multiple independent safety devices to prevent accidental nuclear detonations or launches, others wanted nothing but a big red button to launch the missiles.

Command and Control by Eric Schlosser does a very good job of telling this story, as well as the story of a nuclear accident in Damascus Arkansas.

by sorenbs   2017-10-05
Eric schlossers Command and Control provide accounts of many 'close calls' in the US nuclear program

by AdamJacobMuller   2017-08-20
Highly suggest reading "command and control" by eric schlosser (fast food nation). Terrifying but amazing book:

I'm really not sure why we're still alive.

by MichaelGG   2017-08-19
That hasn't been historically true. It might be true for newer ones but older designs could have gone off. There's also incidents where the bomb was armed accidentally, say, by it slipping while in a plane. Some of the "intentional" detonators were very simple and could be triggered by a surge.


by rrggrr   2017-08-19
Despite three major armed conflicts fought between nuclear powers by proxy, none thankfully have resulted in nuclear war. Deterrence works. What doesn't work, and a flaw that is growing exponentially with nuclear proliferation is failures in design, command and control. The incredible and incredibly frightening book "Command and Control" (see link at bottom), highlights several near catastrophic misses in the US nuclear arsenal. Now multiply by all nuclear states, the risks of accident are terrifying. The world would do well to open source safeguards so that even rogue states (eg. North Korea) can benefit from control and process that mitigate risk of unintended nuclear detonation.

by AnhydrousEtOH   2017-08-19

I suggest reading Command and Control:

Fascinating read that goes into how close we got to full scale nuclear war and how often accidents with nuclear weapons happened.

by lurking_quietly   2017-08-19

This is a useful companion piece to Eric Schlosser's recent "World War Three, by Mistake" in The New Yorker. (Hat-tip to /u/puck2 for posting that article to this subreddit.)

For those still not sufficiently alarmed, PBS will premiere the documentary Command and Control , in its American Experience series next week (Tuesday, January 10, 2017).

by Baked_Potato0934   2017-08-19

Yes, gun type. Extremely inefficient aparently. If anybody wants to read about broken arrows nuclear incidents and how close we were to triggering Cold War