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First Hearing in More Than 40 Years to Consider “Red Button” Authority

Thursday, November 9, 2017
Posted by Brendan Phillips

The Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC), Bob Corker (R-Tenn), recently announced there would be a Hearing on Tuesday (11/14 at 10:00 AM ET) on “the executive’s authority to use nuclear weapons.”

The Hearing follows bi-partisan concerns raised about the president’s temperament in general and his bellicose rhetoric regarding North Korea in particular. Senator Corker announced the Hearing following Donald Trump’s speech at the national assembly in Seoul threating reprisal for North Korea’s continued nuclear development.

The Senator, who has become one of Donald Trump’s fiercest critics within the Republican Party, issued a statement on Wednesday saying, “A number of members both on and off our committee have raised questions about the authorities of the legislative and executive branches with respect to war making, the use of nuclear weapons, and conducting foreign policy overall. This continues a series of hearings to examine those issues and will be the first time since 1976 that this committee or our House counterparts have looked specifically at the authority and process for using U.S. nuclear weapons. This discussion is long overdue, and we look forward to examining this critical issue.”

The SFRC will hear testimony from three witnesses, including retired National Security Council and Department of Defense officials, such as Brian McKeon, the former acting secretary of policy at the Department of Defense under Obama; Peter Feaver, the former director for Defense Policy and Arms Control at the National Security Council during the George W. Bush administration; and, retired Air Force General Robert Kehler, a former head of the U.S. Strategic Command.

Addendum: Following the Hearing on November 14, Mother Jones published an informative summary.
Click here to read it.