Why a mysterious black briefcase follows the US president everywhere
The so-called nuclear Football is a black leather briefcase that contains top-secret items capable of allowing the US president to authorize a nuclear strike while away from fixed command centers, such as the Situation Room.
Officially referred to as the “president’s emergency satchel,” the unsophisticated-looking portable Football is hand-carried by one of five military aides and is always within reach of the commander in chief, just in case.
According to Bill Gulley, a former director of the White House Military Office, the ubiquitous Football does not contain a doomsday red-button keypad but rather four items:
a 75-page black book of retaliatory nuclear-strike options printed in black and red ink
another black book with a list of classified sites to shelter the president
a manila folder containing 10 pages of instructions on how to operate the Emergency Broadcast System
an index card with authentication codes
Sometimes an antenna can be seen poking out of the briefcase, which suggests that there may be communications equipment inside.
The nickname “Football” comes from “Dropkick,” a code name given to a secret nuclear-war plan, according to former US Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. Initiating a Dropkick would require one of these Footballs, Smithsonian Magazine explains.
The military aides selected to carry the briefcase are trained to administer the president for a nuclear attack in minutes…. see more
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