Loss of control is a principal theme of several recent studies of crisis management (Bracken, 1983; Lebow, 1987b). These studies stress the unforeseen and possibly disastrous consequences of strategic nuclear alerts. They make a strong case for the difficulty of controlling the complex and tightly coupled alert and warning systems of the superpowers. In doing so, they offer a much needed corrective to the strategic community's fixation on guaranteed retaliation, something that over the years has made the command and control problem more acute. At the same time, concern for command and control should not blind us to other causes and manifestations of loss of control that could prove just as destabilizing in crisis. This article 1 will explore three of these: civilian-military conflict, emotions, and political sabotage. It will analyze their mediating conditions, their implications for crisis management and what, if anything, could be done to minimize their disruptive effects.