The President can control the use and deployment of nuclear weapons with executive authority
Cooper 2 (Phillip, Prof of Public Administration @ Portland State, By Order of the President: The Use and Abuse of Executive Direct Action)
Although attention has been focused in recent years on such activities as peacekeeping operations and what the Reagan White House dubbed "low-intensity conflict," the specter of nuclear weapons has loomed over the domestic and international scene throughout the life of the NSC. Certainly, the management and control of nuclear weapons and nuclear power as well as other peaceful uses of nuclear energy have been directed by presidential use of NSDs. As strange as it may seem, much of this activity has been treated as relatively routine work. It is usually carried on under the strictest security rules, but significant portions of enough of these orders have been declassified over the years to demonstrate the patterns. Primarily, NSDs are used to (1) control nuclear stockpiles and develop or update procedures for their use;m5 (2) deploy weapons and delivery systems;1°6 (3) manage the development and testing of nuclear weapons;I°7 and (4) make policy for and manage nuclear technology assistance to other countries, with a simultaneous concern for nonproliferation
President has unrestrained authority over nuclear weapons
Garcia 3 [Michael, JD Georgetown Law, A Necessary Response: The Lack of Domestic and International Constraints Upon a U.S. Nuclear Response to a Terrorist Attack” Georgetown Journal of Public Law and Policy 1 Geo. J.L. & Pub. Pol'y 515, Lexis]
Although international law offers little, if any legal (as opposed to political), constraints upon U.S. policymakers' decisions regarding the use of force, domestic law provides definitive limits upon such actions. The U.S. system relies upon "checks and balances" to ensure that no branch of government can become overly powerful--a system that is particularly critical in times of war. The Framers recognized the need for executive control over warfare; the nature of warfare requires quick and uniform decision making and is far better served by the executive than by a large, deliberative legislature. n24 However, the Framers believed that the President should not be given unchecked authority to declare and make war; they feared that absolute power of the executive in war matters might lead presidents to use war on behalf of personal objectives such as revenge, military glory, or personal or partisan aggrandizement. n25 Therefore, the Framers placed two critical war powers in the hands of Congress. Although the President would have the power as Commander in Chief of the nation's armed forces to conduct armed hostilities in the manner he deemed appropriate, n26 the power to declare war and fund the military was granted to Congress. n27 Additionally, the power of impeachment provided Congress with another potential [*520] means of limiting the President's control over warfare. n28 Yet, despite these checks, the Executive Branch's control of nuclear weapons remains unconstrained. Congress's cutting military funds or attempting to impeach the President after a nuclear weapon has been launched does nothing to rectify the damage that has already been done. Furthermore, longstanding executive practices n29 suggest that a President might not wait for a congressional declaration to authorize a nuclear attack, especially if it is in response to an attack on the United States. Because of the legitimate possibility that the United States will be subject to additional terrorist attacks, possibly more destructive than those of September 11, the dangers of unfettered executive authority over nuclear weapons loom particularly large.
All nuclear issues are under the purview of the president
Cooper 2 Phillip J. Cooper, By Order of the President: The Use and Abuse of Presidential Direct Action, 2002
Although attention has been focused in recent years on such activities as peacekeeping operations and what the Reagan White House dubbed "low-intensity conflict," the specter of nuclear weapons has loomed over the domestic and international scene throughout the life of the NSC. Certainly, the management and control of nuclear weapons and nuclear power as well as other peaceful uses of nuclear energy have been directed by presidential use of NSDs. As strange as it may seem, much of this activity has been treated as relatively routine work. It is usually carried on under the strictest security rules, but significant portions of enough of these orders have been declassi fied over the years to demonstrate the patterns. Primarily, NSDs are used to (1) control nuclear stockpiles and develop or update procedures for then use;105 (2) deploy weapons and delivery systems;106 (3) manage the devel opment and testing of nuclear weapons;107 and (4) make policy for and man age nuclear technology assistance to other countries, with a simultaneous concern for nonproliferation.108
President can unilaterally decrease amount of warheads in arsenal
Union of Concerned Scientists, Toward True Security- Ten Steps the Next President Should Take to Transform U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy, February 2008, http://www.ucsusa.org/nuclear_weapons_and_global_security/nuclear_weapons/policy_issues/toward-true-security-ten.html
To prevent more nations—and eventually terrorists—from acquiring nuclear weapons, the United States should drastically reduce the role that nuclear weapons play in its security policies. Toward True Security outlines 10 unilateral steps the next president should take to transform U.S. nuclear policy, which would strengthen national security and put the world on a path to eventually banning nuclear weapons. By taking this leadership role, the United States would also demonstrate to the rest of the world that it is serious about addressing what remains one of the gravest threats to human civilization. The United States need not wait for bilateral or multilateral agreements; it should take unilateral steps to begin the process. These steps would make the United States safer, whether or not the eventual goal of a worldwide ban is ever achieved. The greatest nuclear dangers to the United States are an accidental, unauthorized or mistaken Russian nuclear attack, the spread of nuclear weapons to more nations, and the acquisition of nuclear materials by terrorists. U.S. nuclear weapons policy, the report concludes, fails to adequately address these risks and too often exacerbates them. By taking these 10 unilateral steps, the next president would bring U.S. nuclear weapons policy into line with today’s political realities, and demonstrate to the rest of the world that the United States is serious about addressing what remains one of the gravest threats to human civilization: 1. Declare that the sole purpose of U.S. nuclear weapons is to deter and, if necessary, respond to the use of nuclear weapons by another country. Making it clear that the United States will not use nuclear weapons first would reduce the incentive for other nations to acquire these weapons to deter a potential U.S. first strike. 2. Reject rapid-launch options by changing U.S. deployment practices to allow the launch of nuclear forces within days instead of minutes. Increasing the amount of time required to launch U.S. weapons would ease Russian concerns about the vulnerability of its nuclear weapons and in turn give it the incentive to take its weapons off alert, reducing the risk of an accidental or unauthorized Russian launch on the United States. 3. Eliminate preset targeting plans, and replace them with the capability to promptly develop a response tailored to the situation if nuclear weapons are used against the United States, its armed forces, or its allies. 4. Promptly and unilaterally reduce the U.S. nuclear arsenal to no more than 1,000 warheads, including deployed and reserve warheads. There is no plausible threat that justifies maintaining more than a few hundred survivable nuclear weapons, and no reason to link the size of U.S. nuclear forces to those of any other country. The United States would declare all warheads above this level to be in excess of its military needs, move them into storage, begin dismantling them in a manner transparent to the international community, and begin disposing—under international safeguards—of all plutonium and highly enriched uranium beyond that required to maintain these 1,000 warheads. By making the end point of this dismantlement process dependent on Russia’s response, the United States would encourage Russia to reciprocate.