What Does DEFCON 4 Actually Mean?

DEFCON Warning System

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On September 29, 2022, The DEFCON Warning System raised its alert level to DEFCON 4: Blue over the events occurring in the Russia/Ukraine war.

This has been a controversial move among the public, not so much that it was raised, but rather that it took so long and that it is not enough.

There is also a lot of debate as to what exactly Blue means. Does it mean nuclear war is coming? Is it panic time.

The answer is not as clear cut as it may seem.

First, the “official” definition of DEFCON 4:
This is the non-standard peacetime alert level. All is quiet, though there have been some events which warrant observation. There are no known imminent nuclear threats. More likely than not, nothing will happen and the DEFCON level will eventually revert back to Green. Updates will be given every three weeks with immediate updates issued as the situation warrants.
Generally speaking, there is no need to alter activity from Level Green. The DEFCON Warning System is designed to be sensitive to certain situations, and has gone to Blue several times in the past and reverted back to Green a few weeks later. This is normal and nothing to be concerned about.
Continue to stock up on non-perishable supplies and building your fallout shelter.


This alert went out due to deteriorating events in the Russia/Ukraine war. Russia has made nuclear threats. The West has responded, though with more ambiguity. Recently, however, the West has said that any nuclear attack by Russia on Ukraine would be met with a massive conventional response.

How does this fit in with Level Blue?

If you’re in the West or the South, life pretty much goes on as normal. If you’re in Ukraine, it is a different story. The DEFCON Warning System has even put out an advisory explicitly stating that those in Ukraine should start preparing for a nuclear attack. Though such advisory was softened with the statement that there is no evidence of a pending attack.

So what exactly does Blue mean?

It means the public should not panic. It means that nuclear war will not happen tomorrow. It means the world is not going to end.

It does mean that you should be paying attention. That you should familiarize yourself with what is happening. Keep abreast of current events. That, perhaps, you should take stock of supplies, consider getting more, and maybe have a plan in the event things start to get worse.

All good advice even if there was nothing happening.

DEFCON 4 does not mean you should be nervous. You don’t have to change you life, quit your job, and move to some place out in the wilderness.

Relax. Continue to enjoy life. But…keep an eye on things. Just in case.
 
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