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The commander of US Strategic Command told an audience of security professionals that he would resist a nuclear order from the President of the United States that he deemed to be illegal.

The remarks who made by US Air Force General John Hyten during a question and answer session at the Halifax International Security Forum on Saturday.

Hyten is the commander of US Strategic Command, which has responsibility for the deployment of US nuclear weapons.

I think some people think we're stupid.

We’re not stupid people.

We think about these things a lot.

When you have this responsibility, how do you not think about it?

He was responding to comments made during a US Senate hearing by a retired general, who also stated soldiers would not obey an 'illegal' order.

Presented with such a scenario, Hyten said;

I provide advice to the president, he will tell me what to do, and if it's illegal, guess what's going to happen?

I'm going to say, 'Mr. President, that's illegal.'

And guess what he's going to do? He's going to say, 'What would be legal?'

And we'll come up with options, with a mix of capabilities to respond to whatever the situation is, and that's the way it works.

It's not that complicated.

He further explained that his annual training in the law of armed conflict guided him.

If you execute an unlawful order, you will go to jail.

You could go to jail for the rest of your life.

The US uses a 'two-man' rule for nuclear strikes.

Only the President can order a strike, but it must be verified by the Secretary of Defense as having come from the President.

On Tuesday a committee of the US Senate held a hearing into the President's authority to launch a nuclear strike.

HT CBS NewsGuardian

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