PALs for Allies and Adversaries
Permissive action links (PAL) are electronic locks installed on certain nuclear weapons to preclude accidental or unauthorised use. These devices were developed and installed by the United States in some of its nuclear weapons deployed in Europe and elsewhere during the early 1960s. PALs are important means of reducing the risk of nuclear war; however, despite this importance, there is a paucity of information in the open literature about the development and current deployment of permissive action links. In this chapter I describe what permissive action links are, who has them, and present the pros and cons of sharing information about PALs, particularly in the European context.
KeywordsNuclear Weapon Release Procedure Nuclear Proliferation Warsaw Pact Crisis Stability
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