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Command and Control

The only warheads we thought would go off in the United States were Soviet warheads. We never considered that our own warheads could detonate our own continent. – Allan Childers, Missile Combat Crew

It is September 19, 1980, and a nuclear disaster is playing out in a missile silo outside Little Rock, Arkansas. A worker accidentally drops a socket, puncturing the fuel tank of an intercontinental ballistic missile carrying the most powerful nuclear warhead in our arsenal. It sets in motion a chain of emergency responses to head off damage and destruction of unknown reach.

Directed by Emmy Award winner Robert Kenner (Food, Inc., Merchants of Doubt) and based on the critically acclaimed book by Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation), Command and Control is a minute-by-minute account of the long-hidden story of the "Damascus Accident." With original footage and eyewitness accounts, the film recalls this near-miss catastrophe, shocking for being only one of thousands of close brushes with nuclear incidents, according to a recently declassified Department of Energy document.

New America NYC presented a screening of Command and Control and a discussion about the risks of our aging nuclear arsenal and current efforts in arms control and nonproliferation.


Robert Kenner
Director, Producer, and Co-writer, Command and Control

Eric Schlosser
Producer and Co-writer, Command and Control

Sharon Squassoni
Director and Senior Fellow, Proliferation Prevention Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies

Tamara Patton
Doctoral Candidate, Nuclear Futures Lab, Princeton University