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The most urgent national security issue facing the United States is the possibility that a nuclear weapon might be used against this nation as an instrument of war or terror. If we are to avoid such a catastrophe and its unprecedented environmental, economic, and social effects, this threat must be addressed vigorously and soon. Facing up to the threat will require more than tracking down terrorists or warning rogue states that they will be held accountable for their actions. It will require delegitimizing nuclear weapons as usable instruments of warfare and relegating them to a deterrent role or, in certain cases, to weapons of last resort. This policy change will be difficult to adopt, because the nation's leaders as well as the general public have lost sight of the devastating power of nuclear weapons and tend to disregard the political and moral taboos surrounding their use.