Nuclear briefcase

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This article is about portable methods for authorizing use of nuclear weapons. It is not to be confused with suitcase nuke.

A nuclear briefcase is a specially outfitted briefcase used to authorize the use of nuclear weapons and is usually kept nearby the leader of nuclear weapons state at all times.

Russian Federation[edit]

Main article: Cheget

Russia's "nuclear briefcase" is code-named Cheget. It "supports communication between senior government officials while they are making the decision whether to use nuclear weapons, and in its own turn is plugged into the special communication system Kazbek, which embraces all the individuals and agencies involved in command and control of the Strategic Nuclear Forces." It is usually assumed, although not known with certainty, that the nuclear briefcases are also issued to the Minister of Defense and the Chief of General Staff of the Russian Federation.[1][dead link][2]

United States[edit]

Briefcase used by the President of the United States to authorize a nuclear attack while away from fixed command centers
Main article: Nuclear football

The 'nuclear football', as it has been nicknamed, is a black briefcase, the contents of which are to be used by the President of the United States of America to authorize a nuclear attack while away from fixed command centers, such as the White House Situation Room. It functions as a mobile hub in the strategic defense system of the United States.


In France, the nuclear briefcase does not exist officially.[3] A black briefcase called the "mobile base"[4] follows the president in all his trips, but it is not specifically devoted to nuclear force.

Briefcases in fiction[edit]

Cinema and literature approached this subject again and again, notably:


Johnny Smith, while shaking the hand of Greg Stillson — a candidate for the post of the United States senator — during an electoral meeting, in the prophetic vision of Stilson, became president of the United States, launching a nuclear attack against Russia, scanning the palm personally on a computer terminal to validate the launching of missiles;
The incumbent president attempts to impress a key voter by letting him hold the nuclear football.
Fictive President Walter Emerson uses his nuclear briefcase in this movie to authorize a nuclear attack on the city of Baghdad.
in the end of the film, the president of the United States reacts to a war threat with Russia by speeding up the force of nuclear weapon, but the system is taken in hostage by a Russian mole infiltrated within the CIA;
A team must return to "football" stolen sixteen years earlier in the course of surgical operation. The pirates had already tried to launch a strike using an American nuclear silo based in Iceland, but they failed.


The key commanding the firing of nuclear missiles is stolen from the President of France.

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