The DEFCON Warning System™

Ongoing GeoIntel and Analysis in the theater of nuclear war.  DEFCON Level assessment issued for public notification.  Established 1984.


DEFCON Warning System

There is quite a lot of confusion about The DEFCON Warning System, so we put together this FAQ which will hopefully help quell some of it.

We will continue to update this FAQ as more questions are come across. Check out our forums for updated information about this section

Got questions?
Well, we've got answers

Does the DWS report the DEFCON status of the US military?

No. We are not affiliated with any government agency and DWS does not represent the alert status of any military branch. Military DEFCON levels are secret. We don’t know them and wouldn’t report them even if we did as that would compromise security.

What is the purpose of DWS?

DWS is designed to be a digest of information related to the possibility of nuclear war. While there are many sources of news and information out there, we try to be one-stop-shopping for important and relevant information. We can’t possibly report everything, but we do try to pick out the stuff that can have the greatest impact.

We also feel that nuclear war is such a terrifying subject that most people don’t want to think about it. When nuclear war comes, the government is likely not going to say anything until it is much too late if ever. Our system is designed to be a barometer which will (in theory) see nuclear war coming much earlier than the government will admit. We will then issue a warning which the public can decide for themselves what to do about.

Where do you get your information?

Over the years, The DEFCON Warning System has grown to gain some contacts within government and military agencies. However, most of our information is public knowledge and can be easily searched for. We often post news article links on our message board for commentary.

Information from confidential sources is vetted and, by necessity, often redacted to protect the source as well as not compromise national security or field plans. We do not, however, hold back information necessary to the safety of the public.

Doesn't this mean that DWS is unreliable?

No matter how hard anyone tries, unless you’re inside the enemy’s situation room, you’re going to have to make a guess. It’s an art not a science, and one that has been around since Cain first slew Abel.

The DEFCON Warning System, by nature, is designed to react to certain situations. In order to give the most warning possible, it has to make an educated guess as to whether the event will pass or the missiles will fly. This means that sometimes an alert will be raised and the situation will calm and nothing will come of it.

Generally speaking, Green and Yellow tend to be more accurate, while Blue and Orange are more vague. By the time Red comes around, the writing will be on the wall.

Historically speaking, the world has marched toward nuclear war numerous times and backed away. You’ll see the DEFCON Warning System reflect that.

Ultimately, you must decide for yourself what to do with the information presented. We’re only a barometer.

Aren't you just DoomPorn?

When did that become a word?

We are not survivalists. No one here is rooting for World War III. Truth be told, most of the DEFCON staff live in or near targeted locations and would not survive the first few minutes of a nuclear war. So believe it when we say no one here wants to see that happen.

As more countries develop nuclear weapons, the world becomes a more dangerous place and the potential for nuclear war increases. We do our best to only sound the warning when necessary, but when events dictate, we will issue the proper alerts. Most of the time, the situation will resolve itself and things will calm down. But that doesn’t mean that the potential for nuclear war wasn’t there. To look at it another way, if you have an open flame next to pool of gasoline, just because it didn’t explode doesn’t mean the potential wasn’t there. The same can be said of the DEFCON alerts. Just because nothing happened at the time of an alert doesn’t mean the potential for disaster wasn’t there.

It is always up to the public to decide what to do in the event of an emerging situation.

Are you a commercial/for profit site?

Are you a commercial/for profit site?

For many years (32 actually) , we carried no ads, sold no merchandise, and asked for no donations. The site owner paid for everything out of his own pocket. Unfortunately, times have changed and things have become more expensive, especially now that we’re a million page views a month and our provider requires us to run an upgraded plan when the traffic gets to be too much. So, in 2016, we started looking for some revenue streams to help pay for some of the expenses. We’ve done our best to make everything as unobtrusive as possible while still being functional.

Are you just a religious/right wing site?

Are you just a religious/right wing site?

We’re human, so we do have our religious and political beliefs. But we do our best to be non-partisan in our reporting and analysis. Notice that we rarely name politicians, but rather refer to countries. We take no position on political issues unless they affect nuclear warfare. To use an extreme example, but one that will make the point, if Adolf Hitler was in charge of the United States, we wouldn’t care about his position on Jews except how it would affect the chances of the use of nuclear weapons.

But you have religious links?

But you have religious links?

When it comes down to it, it’s our website and we can put anything we want there. Just be glad we didn’t link Battlestar Galactica, the Director’s favourite show. (Classic better than new, though new has its redeeming values.)

THE DEFCON Warning System

Know Our Code

We’re building the site with a set of code to identify each alert. Learn our own adopted system to understand better about the sign we used in our platform.

What The DEFCON Warning System is NOT

How long as DWS been running?

1984 is when it started. The announcer was an old SAM Software voice. You can hear one of the original alerts here. No details were given back then, and no regular updates. Only alerts.

Can you change your name to something less confusing?

We’ve had this name for 30 years. We aren’t changing it.

Shouldn't DEFCON 1 be the lowest and 5 be the highest?

Think of it as a countdown to nuclear war. 5…4…3…2…1…VAPORIZE!

Your colours are wrong. DEFCON 5 is blue and DEFCON 1 is white.

We use our own system of colours. The public is more accustomed to Green being “good” and Red being “bad”, so we have adopted that system.

What does it mean when you send out a Ping on social media?

Those are generally communication tests for our Twitter and other social media accounts. Ping is an old-school network command to check if you are being heard by the receiver and how long it takes for the signal to reach them.

We also will send out a Ping if the channel has been silent for a while to let everyone know it is still active.

Pings can be safely ignored. They carry no meaning for the public.

As a joke, a lot of people will reply to our ping tests with either the word “pong” (a computer server’s reply to the “Ping” message) or make a reference to the movie _Hunt For Red October_ in which sub captain Ramius ordered a message sent out via a sonar ping by saying “One ping only, please.”

Ongoing Geointel and Analysis in the theater of nuclear war.


© 2024 The DEFCON Warning System. Established 1984.

The DEFCON Warning System is a private intelligence organization which has monitored and assessed nuclear threats by national entities since 1984. It is not affiliated with any government agency and does not represent the alert status of any military branch. The public should make their own evaluations and not rely on the DEFCON Warning System for any strategic planning. At all times, citizens are urged to learn what steps to take in the event of a nuclear attack.