Air Force conducts experiments to shed light on nuclear command control
AFA NEWS: Experiments informing nuclear command and control upgrades
Photo: Ministry of Defense.
NATIONAL HARBOR, Maryland – The Defense Department is carrying out “a lot of experiments” to try to find the best way to improve its nuclear command, control and communication capabilities, the Air Force Global Strike Command chief said on September 20.
The Pentagon is researching a variety of new systems for its nuclear triad, which includes air, land and sea platforms. Air Force is developing new bombers, air-launched cruise missiles, and ground-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, while navy is building new ballistic missile submarines and has plans for cruise missiles with maritime launcher.
However, another critical element that does not get as much public attention because it is “not as sexy” is nuclear command, control and communications, Gen. Anthony Cotton said in a statement. panel at the Air Force Association’s Air-Space-Cyber Conference in National Port, Maryland.
CL3 is the “tapestry of the whole triad,” he said.
However, much of the current architecture was built decades ago and it needs to be upgraded, he noted.
“Being able to modernize this system so that we can lead the battles we will face and the threats we will face in the future, is something we need to have a serious conversation about,” he said.
Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. John Hyten has warned that China is developing capabilities that could threaten the U.S. military’s current ability to communicate with its nuclear forces.
The Pentagon needs “secure communications” to activate its nuclear command and control capabilities, Cotton said.
“We should be able to build a system that [is] cutting-edge technologies of the 21st century and… understanding vulnerabilities, ”he added. “Right now, we’re doing a lot of experiments to be able to sort of achieve this… [and] see how we could do it.
Cotton did not provide details of what the experiments involved, but he noted that the Air Force is examining how its nuclear command, control and communications network would fit into the future advanced combat management system of the service.
The legacy network is a hardened device that includes thousands of miles of deeply buried underground cables, according to Hyten.
“In the 1960s, when we developed our NC3 system, it was a stand-alone system,” Cotton said. But that’s not what the Pentagon wants or needs in the future. The United States shouldn’t be trying to build a new NC3 architecture like it did decades ago, he said.
“It’s unaffordable. We’re not going to be able to do it that way, ”Cotton said. “The way the 21st century is able to do this business will actually be more effective and efficient for us in the future. “
The subjects: Air Force News, Air Power