The Defense Department has made progress in modernizing its nuclear command, control, and communications enterprise, but capability gaps and deficiencies remain, announced the Government Accountability Office. For example, “development of key satellite communication terminals for strategic bomber aircraft has been deferred by several years,” wrote GAO auditors in the report, issued on Monday. Further, other NC3 programs have follow-on increments “not yet funded,” states the report, completed at the behest of Congress. GAO focused its review on these seven NC3 programs: the Common Very Low Frequency Receiver; Family of Advanced Beyond Line-of-Sight Terminals; Global Aircrew Strategic Network Terminal; Minuteman Minimum Essential Emergency Communications Network Program Upgrade; Mission Planning and Analysis System; Phoenix Air-to-Ground Communications Network; and Presidential and National Voice Conferencing. GAO made no recommendations in this report. The NC3 enterprise comprises land-, air-, and space-based components meant to assure secure and survivable connectivity between the President and nuclear forces during a crisis and support day-to-day nuclear operations. (See also Command and Control Critical to Strategic Deterrence and First FAB-T Terminals Heading to Air Force.)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.