Intently watching all the Inauguration festivities on MSNBC today, one of the commentators made a comment about the "nuclear football" in the Obama motorcade. Being the ever inquisitive individual, I Googled "nuclear football" is this is what I found. According to Wikipedia:
The Nuclear Football (also called the Atomic Football, President's Emergency Satchel, The Button, The Red Button, The Black Box or just The Football) is a specially outfitted black briefcase used by the President of the United States of America to authorize the use of nuclear weapons. Adopted to permit the president to make a nuclear-attack order while away from fixed command centers, such as the White House Situation Room, it functions as a mobile hub in the strategic defense system of the United States. While exact details about the football are highly classified, several sources have provided information about the bag, its contents, and its operation.
According to Global Security:
It [the nuclear football] follows the President where ever he goes and is never more that a few steps from his side. It is carried by a military officer who must undergo the nation's most rigorous security background check - the "Yankee White". It contains a secure SATCOM radio and handset, the nuclear launch codes known as the "Gold Codes" and the President's Decision Book - the nuclear playbook that the President would rely on if he would ever have to decide to use nuclear weapons. Its real name is unknown but it is popularly known as "the football".
Okay, so now I really feel like an idiot. I guess you really do learn something new every day!