Per AFI 91-105, "The Two Person Concept" is designed to prevent accidental or malicious launch of nuclear weapons by a single individual. In the case of a missile silo command crew, both operators must agree that the launch order is valid, and must each complete a set of tasks independently and in proper order to launch. On a submarine, both the commanding officer and executive officer must agree that the order to launch is valid, and then mutually authorize the launch with their operations personnel. Higher up, in the United States, the National Command Authority comprising the President and Secretary of Defense must jointly issue the order to use nuclear weapons to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Usually, the two-man rule is also backed up with hardware and software measures including command code verification and command keys.
At no time can one person have in his or her possession the combinations or keys to gain lone access to a security container or cryptographic equipment containing COMSEC material. Neither can one person have sole possession of COMSEC material that requires TPI security.
Dual keys are required the authorization of two separate parties before a particular action is taken. The simplest form of Dual Key security is a lock that requires two keys to unlock it. The two keys would be in the possession of two separate persons. The lock could only be opened if both parties agreed to open it and at the same time. Canada accepted having American W-40 nuclear warheads under dual key control on Canadian soil in 1963 to be used on the Canadian BOMARC missiles.
In popular culture, the Two-man rule is evidenced in the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, as it requires the authorization of both the Captain and the Executive Officer to initiate the self-destruct mechanism of the Starship Enterprise.
In the Tom Clancy novel The Sum of All Fears President Robert Fowler and National Security Advisor Elliot comprise the two men that were to issue a nuclear launch order against a city thought to be harboring a terrorist leader. Ryan refuses to validate the launch order and the nuclear attack is aborted.
As an extension of the broader rationale for the "two man rule", regulations for some companies or not-for-profit organizations may require signatures of two executives on checks. These rules make it harder for an individual acting alone to defraud the organization.
MONEY WIRE SERVICE COMMITS TO CHANGING ITS BUSINESS PRACTICES TO STOP CONSUMERS FROM LOSING MONEY TO FRAUDULENT TELEMARKETERS
Jul 02, 2008; The Ohio Attorney General issued the following news release: The Ohio Attorney General's Office today announced that MoneyGram...