As cyber attacks escalate in magnitude – reflected in the 2016 Russian meddling in the U.S. election and the 2014 Sony Pictures hacking – the red alert has gone out to Washington D.C. to confront the issue.
On Aug. 8, President Trump appeared to threaten first use of nuclear weapons against North Korea. This is a dangerous departure from historical precedent. The policy and practice of the United States on threats to use nuclear weapons has been consistent for many decades, and for presidents of both political parties.
In July, North Korea tested its longest-range ballistic missiles yet, putting it closer than ever to having a nuclear weapon that could strike the US mainland. But that is not actually our most urgent problem, says Siegfried S. Hecker, a former director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, who has visited North Korea seven times and toured its nuclear facilities.