To separate a nuclear weapon’s warhead from its delivery system.
The task force was critical of proposals to “de-alert” U.S. nuclear forces further from a higher state of readiness, which would undermine deterrence.
Proponents of de-alerting point to “potential weaknesses in the Russian command and control system as a source of danger of unauthorized or accidental use,” the report said.
—Bill Gertz, “ Pentagon asks for nuclear upgrade,” The Washington Times, December 4, 1998
In this depressing landscape, the agenda for action set out in the Canberra Commission report remains highly relevant. We need to de-alert the nuclear arsenals — to lengthen the fuse by extending real launch preparation time. This means removing vital parts of the systems.
—Paul Keating, “New effort needed to make the world safe,” Sydney Morning Herald (Australia), November 26, 1998
Another developing international norm is the cessation of nuclear weapons testing. Since the NPT was signed, only one new country — India — has carried out an underground test. At present, only China continues to test nuclear weapons, while negotiators in Geneva are within hailing distance of a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. The steep reductions, de-alerting and detargeting of nuclear forces also convey important symbolic messages.
—Michael Krepon, “Prepared Testimony of Michael Krepon Before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Ratification,” Federal News Service, March 29, 1995