MILITARY, NUCLEAR ARSENAL
Definition A term of art referring to the policy and practice of maintaining a significant portion of a nuclear missile arsenal on a high-alert, launch-ready (“hair trigger”) status
As of 2013–more than two decades after the end of the Cold War–the USA and Russia still keep hundreds of ballistic missiles and thousands of strategic nuclear warheads aimed at each other, ready to launch from land and submarines 15 minutes after receiving orders to attack. Not good.
Sci Am Nov 1997, p74