HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) — A Cold War-era hotline between Washington and Moscow is turning 50.
Government and military officials are marking the anniversary with a celebration Thursday at Fort Detrick in Maryland. The Army maintains a satellite link there for secure communications between leaders of the two countries.
Former Soviet space exploration director Roald Sagdeev (ROH'-ahld SAG'-deev) says the system remains relevant, especially in light of the nations' differing views on the Middle East.
Despite the popular myth, officials say the president doesn't use a red phone to talk with his Russian counterpart. In fact, the connection established in 1963 was for written communications only.
A voice component was added decades later. Former White House Situation Room manager Michael Bohn (bahn) says that is now the preferred mode of communication between the world leaders.