And some defense scholars strongly oppose any major rewriting of the protocol, arguing that any reform that watered down a president's power to react with speed and authority would undercut the effect of America's nuclear deterrent. Yet that moment of potential sedition seemed to pass off as a rather humdrum event.
Our nation has suffered conventional military disasters (for example, deep in North Korea during the first year of the Korean War) without resorting to nuclear weapons, and it's hard to imagine a single general recommending a nuclear strike in the absence of actual or imminent opposition use of weapons of mass destruction. That's a tough message to explain to one's constituents.
Time magazine ran the headline: "Should President Trump Have the Sole Power to Launch Nuclear Missiles?" Refusing to acknowledge it is a mistake for Republicans and Democrats alike.
Trump has kept much of his promise on immigration, too.
"Who has the authority to employ nuclear weapons?" Just like most of the rest of us.
In the event policymakers believed an attack was underway, the president could have as little as six minutes to make a decision before being evacuated to a blast-proof shelter, experts said.
Trump can annihilate the people of North Korea entirely on his own. But it has previously expressed confidence in its early warning and detection systems.
Trump's aides can't control the president's "Twitter tantrums", the Democrat said in prepared remarks.
While Cardin and Corker did not expand on their opinions of the current holder of the office, other lawmakers did.
"Despite significant differences from the Cold War, the ultimate paradox of the nuclear age is still with us - to prevent the use of nuclear weapons, the U.S. must remain prepared to use them", Kehler said.
"The best reforms to the nuclear command-and-control system would be ones that maximized the opportunity for the human element to mitigate risks by maximizing time for deliberation and assessment", said Peter Feaver, a professor of political science and public policy at Duke University.
But if a president's order to fire nuclear weapons, even pre-emptively, is determined to be sound and legal, there's no one who can stop him.
One US military official giving evidence to the Senate hearings questioning Trump's authority described him as having "God-like power to end the world".
The NPT gave this forceful answer a strong start by creating two tiers of states: the five approved nuclear weapons states (permanent members of the United Nations Security Council), and establishing all others (currently 185) as non-nuclear weapons states. It is an open challenge to Trump's ultimate authority. Some are concerned that war could be next.
"That means it will likely be North Korea first freezing its nuclear programme and then moving onto complete dismantlement". In a 366-30 vote this week, the House of Representatives passed a nonbinding resolution declaring the U.S. military's role in Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen unauthorized. On Sunday, he again insulted Kim by calling him "short and fat". Grander bargains are also possible, but it requires a willingness on both sides to choose compromise and accommodation over rigidity and vainglory. In other words, there is time to debate strike options.
Kehler reminded the committee that a nuclear strike isn't simply something that automatically and immediately happens just because the president orders it.
Corker, who has called the Trump White House "an adult daycare", pushed for the hearing because he said Congress should explore "the realities of this system".
If we know anything about Donald Trump, we know that he acts in terms of what he considers to be his self-interest. They pointed out President Trump's erratic behavior at every opportunity.
Nuclear engagement, especially a first strike, would have massive and irreparable international implications and could lead to full-scale nuclear warfare.
"I don't think that the assurances that I've received today will be satisfying to the American people", he said.