Command and Control Critical to Strategic Deterrence

There is the need for investment in sensors and communications tools to enhance “appropriate and timely command and control” of the nation’s strategic nuclear triad, said US Strategic Command boss Adm. Cecil Haney on June 18. Assured and reliable command and control is “critical to the credibility of our nuclear deterrent,” said Haney at a Capitol Hill breakfast sponsored by AFA, the Reserve Officers Association, and National Defense Industrial Association. He noted that the aging Nuclear Command, Control, and Communications System, which is largely conceived around 20th century communications technology, is meeting its purpose, but risks to “mission success” are steadily growing. STRATCOM is working to shift from “point-to-point hardwire systems to a networked, [Internet Protocol]-based command and control architecture” that will balance survivability, durability, and relevant capabilities across the command’s missions and help enhance “presidential decision time and space,” he said. Some of the specific tools STRATCOM is working on include terminals, voice conferencing, air-to-ground networks, and low-frequency upgrades to platforms like the E4-B airborne command post, he said. The Space Based Infrared Systems satellite constellation, along with ground-based early warning radars, is “vital” to the United States’ ability to deter and assure, said Haney.