The odds are that not in our favor when it comes to the possibility of a nuclear attack on the United States. The bottom line is that with nuclear weapons technology becoming more and more common, sooner or later it will end up in the hands of the wrong person or group.
The US has a longstanding policy of enforcing the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and attempting to keep the technology out of the hands of countries that may supply it to terrorist groups. However, it is increasingly difficult to prevent nations such as North Korea and Iran from building nuclear weapons. Short of war there is simply no way to force a sovereign nation to do something that its leaders do not want to do.
Sanctions may be used to try and persuade leaders towards our point of view, but they have weaknesses. First off, even if sanctions are successful, they make take years to work. Before they have time to work, it may be too late. Sanctions are not likely to succeed if other nations do not join them. Frequently, our adversaries in Russia and China thwart our attempts at successful sanctions and negotiations. Finally, even if sanctions are imposed, despotic governments are insulated from economic pressures and public opinion. All too often, the people suffer but the government and military do not.
If we cannot prevent rogue nations from arming themselves with nuclear weapons indefinitely, then our second line of defense is to prevent them from using them on US soil. We should immediately step up efforts at border security to ensure that foreign agents are not able to enter the US with a nuclear weapon illegally. Increased efforts at radiation detection in our international ports and airports is also necessary to ensure that a nuclear weapon is not smuggled through customs.
North Korea and Iran are also pursuing research projects to create ballistic missiles that could reach the friendly nations of Europe, East Asia, Israel, and possibly even the United States itself. For that reason, we must proceed with research, development and deployment of an anti-ballistic missile defense system. Anti-military groups have long opposed such systems, but to be secure against a missile attack from a suicidal national leader they are an absolute must. Such systems will not be 100% effective at the outset, but will become better and better as the technology matures.
All the planning and preparations in the world will not guarantee that a nuclear attack will never take place. Therefore, every American must be prepared to survive the aftermath of a nuclear attack. Emergency supplies such as food, water, batteries, battery powered radios, and first aid kits are valuable for both nuclear attacks and natural disasters. Recent disasters should teach us that we must be prepared to save ourselves for at least a short time.