Yes, that is a fascinating article. The author has obviously put a lot of
thought into the subject, and his theories make a lot of sense.
There's an aspect of PALs that I'm wondering about:
As I understand the system, codes for arming the nuclear warheads assigned
to US air and land forces are transmitted to those forces as part of an
Emergency War Order.
Presumably, an EWO should be as brief as possible to reduce transmission
and decoding time, and the possiblility of human error. But since
nuclear-weapons units like Minuteman squadrons can control a large number
of warheads, transmitting a separate PAL code for each warhead to be
released could produce a very long EWO.
So I'm thinking about two possibilities:
(1) That some or all of the warheads assigned to a particular unit are set
with identical PAL codes; and/or,
(2) That the PAL codes for individual warheads are kept locally in secure
electronic storage (e.g in the Launch Control Center's computer), and are
retrieved automatically upon receipt of a "master key" code transmitted as
part of the EWO. The PALS would be downloaded to their corresponding
warheads as part of the arming/launch sequence.
>Great article on Permissive Action Links- the ultimate "end user' of Cold
>Mark Edward Springer