Comparing US and Russia’s Nuclear Retaliation Systems: Safeguards and Continuity of Government Plans

So if you saw my last video on Russia’s perimeter or deadhand system, you Learned that Russia is a system that in the event of a nuclear strike, like and the Kremlin or command structure of Russia is incapacitated, they have an automated system to conduct a second strike retaliation against whoever the aggressor is. So it begs the question, does the US have something similar? Well, no, the US does not have a system identical to Russia’s parameter or dead hand system.

However, the US has developed and maintained various systems and protocols to ensure a retaliatory nuclear strike capability in the event of a decapitation strike or a first strike or other scenarios where national command authority is disrupted. These include a continuity of government plan that is designed to ensure the government functions continue during and after a catastrophic event such as a nuclear strike. These plans involve secure locations, secure communications and various protocols to maintain command and control. The US has clear protocols for presidential succession to ensure that someone is always available to exercise nuclear command authority. This ensures continuity in the event that the president is incapacitated.

The official list is 18 people deep, but it can also move to the deputy secretaries and so on in order after the president, the list goes vice president, speak of the house, president pro tempore of the Senate, secretary of state, and then the secretary of the Treasury. It goes on from there. But on, I’m only gonna read those five.

The US also has a designated survivor for when all of these folks are in one area, such as the state of the union during the 2024 State of the Union, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona was the designated survivor chosen to sit out of the speech. This person leaves Washington completely and goes to an ungood disclosed secure location.

The US also has Looking Glass, also known as the doomsday plane, which is an airborne command center, part of the E4B National Airborne Operations Center fleet, the USS two of them. Russia has this capability as well. The US aircraft can command and control US nuclear forces if ground based command centers are destroyed or incapacitated. Due to its specialized equipment, this aircraft can survive nuclear strikes and ensures survivability and continuous communications even during nuclear war. Now, that’s not like a direct strike. It can’t take a direct strike, but it has capability in a nuclear compromised environment to continue to function.

In addition, the US has the Nuclear Command, Control and communications or NC three system, which is a robust and redundant funded network designed to ensure that nuclear launch orders can be transmitted to US strategic forces at all times. This system includes satellite communications, ground stations and secure communications lines. The system transmits emergency action messages, which are critical messages sent to nuclear forces to execute, cancel or verify nuclear launch orders. These messages are transmitted through a highly secure and highly redundant communications network to ensure orders can be delivered under any conditions.

So as you can see, both the US and Russia have highly survivable launch systems, at least on paper, where the US does have an edges in intercept capability. Something Russia does not really have even in a first or second strike scenario, both the US and Russia will lean on submarine launch systems as they will be largely un touched in those first or second strikes. The key is to have attack submarines destroy those nuclear submarines before they can launch.

Nonetheless, both Russia and the US have highly redundant systems in the event of a nuclear strike. This adds to nuclear deterrence globally, knowing that you cannot just dominate the nuclear space, whether it’s through a first strike or a second strike capability, means that it is highly unlikely nuclear war is going to happen. Yes, the US has more of a capability to survive, but it will not go away unscathed. And therefore, future wars, at least for the foreseeable future, are likely not going to be nuclear wars because there is no returning from them. It was Ronald Reagan that said we affirm that nuclear war cannot be won and must never be thought. And that still applies today.