Synopsis by Bhob Stewart
Who presses the button? To show those at the controls of America's nuclear arsenal, famed filmmaker Frederick Wiseman made this 1987 documentary at the 4315th Training Squadron of the Strategic Air Command at California's Vandenberg Air Force Base. Air Force officers are shown in training to man the Launch Control Centers for the Minuteman Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles. The film follows trainees through various stages of this training, to graduation and assignments as Launch Control Center staffers. In addition to discussions on the moral and military issues of nuclear war, the film features plans against terrorist attacks; emergency procedures; tutorial sessions; codes and communications; staff meetings; and the arming and targeting of missiles. The film introduces the viewer to the sincere, intelligent, well-trained men and women who are trusted with the responsibility for methodically and calmly carrying forth any orders they receive for the destruction of civilization.