My column earlier this week centered on remnants of the United States’ nuclear deterrents against the U.S.S.R. Today, I read this disturbing Wired piece about Perimeter, a secret system in Russia that would automatically launch all the nation’s nukes if its leadership were killed off by a nuclear strike. It’s nickname was "Dead hand."
The scary part? It’s still completely in place and ready to be activated.
"Once initiated, the counterattack would be controlled by so-called command missiles. Hidden in hardened silos designed to withstand the massive blast and electromagnetic pulses of a nuclear explosion, these missiles would launch first and then radio down coded orders to whatever Soviet weapons had survived the first strike. At that point, the machines will have taken over the war. Soaring over the smoldering, radioactive ruins of the motherland, and with all ground communications destroyed, the command missiles would lead the destruction of the U.S."