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Nuclear strategy raises new questions about the security of critical communications networks

Space News, by Sandra Erwin  

WASHINGTON — It’s a question that lawmakers on Capitol Hill have been asking the Pentagon for years: Are the command-and-control systems between the president and the nation’s nuclear forces totally secure and defendable from cyber or electronic attacks?

The 2018 Nuclear Posture Review the Pentagon released on Friday says systems today remain “assured and effective” but the report warns of growing risks. The nuclear command and control networks that were on the cutting edge in the 1970s are now “subject to challenges from both aging system components and new, growing 21st century threats,” the NPR says. “Of particular concern are expanding threats in space and cyber space.”

The NPR strikes an alarming tone on the state of the technology that makes up the nuclear command, control and communications system, known as NC3.

The NC3 is a hodgepodge of hardware and software — warning satellites and radars; communications satellites, aircraft, and ground stations; fixed and mobile command posts; and the control centers for nuclear systems. The NPR says many of these systems use antiquated technology that has not been modernized in almost three decades………

“Space is no longer a sanctuary and orbital space is increasingly congested, competitive and contested,” the NPR says. “A number of countries, particularly China and Russia, have developed the means to disrupt, disable, and destroy U.S. assets in space.” …….

The commander of Global Strike Command Gen. Robin Rand in a November interview with the National Defense Industrial Association’s National Defense Magazine said NC3 is a “work in progress.” And it is a “very difficult challenge we have as we have allowed this system of systems to atrophy.”



February 5, 2018 - Posted by | safety, USA

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