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Summary: In the acronym of GRACE the C is constant safequards. Safeguards are meant to be devices to protect us from ourselves and others.

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THE LIFE OF G.R.A.C.E.

¡§Constant Safeguards¡¨

September 18, 2005

Intro: We have been looking at the Shepherd¡¦s Covenant over the last few weeks. This is a covenant that has been established by Focus on the Family and their Pastoral Ministry department. It is meant to give a guideline for pastor¡¦s to live by to experience the life of grace.

G= Genuine Accountability

R= Right Relationships

A= A Servant Heart

C= Constant Safeguards

E= Embrace God Intimately

Today we are talking about establishing safeguards in our lives.

Safeguards are meant to be devices to protect us from ourselves and others.

A friend of mine worked for many years building nuclear bombs. He was an engineer with high level security clearance. I would often ask him about his job and he would respond, ¡§I can tell you, but then I would have to kill you.¡¨ During the Cold War, the military established safeguards to keep nuclear warheads from being fired accidentally. However, they didn¡¦t always work as planned.

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Keeping Presidents in the Nuclear Dark

(Episode #1: The Case of the Missing ¡§Permissive Action Links¡¨)

Bruce G. Blair, Ph.D, CDI President, bblair@cdi.org

Feb. 11, 2004

Last month I asked Robert McNamara, the secretary of defense during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, what he believed back in the 1960s was the status of technical locks on the Minuteman intercontinental missiles. These long-range nuclear-tipped missiles first came on line during the Cuban missile crisis and grew to a force of 1,000 during the McNamara years ¡X the backbone of the U.S. strategic deterrent through the late 1960s. McNamara replied, in his trade-mark, assertively confident manner that he personally saw to it that these special locks (known to wonks as ¡§Permissive Action Links¡¨) were installed on the Minuteman force, and that he regarded them as essential to strict central control and preventing unauthorized launch.

When the history of the nuclear cold war is finally comprehensively written, this McNamara vignette will be one of a long litany of items pointing to the ignorance of presidents and defense secretaries and other nuclear security officials about the true state of nuclear affairs during their time in the saddle. What I then told McNamara about his vitally important locks elicited this response: ¡§I am shocked, absolutely shocked and outraged. Who authorized that?¡¨ What he had just learned from me was that the locks had been installed, but everyone knew the combination.

The Strategic Air Command (SAC) in Omaha quietly decided to set the ¡§locks¡¨ to all zeros in order to circumvent this safeguard. During the early to mid-1970s, during my stint as a Minuteman launch officer, they still had not been changed. Our launch checklist in fact instructed us, the firing crew, to double-check the locking panel in our underground launch bunker to ensure that no digits other than zero had been inadvertently dialed into the panel. SAC remained far less concerned about unauthorized launches than about the potential of these safeguards to interfere with the implementation of wartime launch orders. And so the ¡§secret unlock code¡¨ during the height of the nuclear crises of the Cold War remained constant at OOOOOOOO.


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