As they moved to escape the Capitol on Jan. 6, protestors who had violently broken down the doors and through the windows of the building came within yards of then-Vice President Mike Pence and his team, and thus a briefcase containing the procedures to launch a nuclear strike in the event of the president’s incapacitation.
On Monday, the Defense Department inspector general’s office announced a project that will evaluate the procedures in place should a “nuclear football,” which travel at all times with both the president and vice president, be lost or compromised, according to a release.
“As the rioters reached the top of the stairs, they were within 100 feet of where the vice president was sheltering with his family, and they were just feet away from one of the doors to this chamber,” Del. Stacey Plaskett, a manager from then-President Donald Trump’s second impeachment, told senators during the trial in February.
Officials from U.S. Strategic Command, which is in control of nuclear capabilities, didn’t know at the time how close the football came to falling into the wrong hands, an official told CNN in February.
The DoDIG project aims to study the extent to which there are notification procedures for a lost or stolen football, and whether they need to be revamped, according to the release.
The IG did not announce how long the study will take or whether they’ve set a deadline, but according to the release, the goals of the project may be revised to include additional issues, should they come up.
Meghann Myers is the Pentagon bureau chief at Military Times. She covers operations, policy, personnel, leadership and other issues affecting service members. Follow on Twitter @Meghann_MT