If and when NC3 systems fail under stress, leaders must be able to communicate, and today’s NC3 systems rely on both legacy and modern technologies that are increasingly vulnerable to rapidly emerging, disruptive capabilities. As part of the Institute for Security and Technology’s ongoing initiative to identify the impact of emerging technologies on Nuclear Command, Control and Communications (NC3) and Global Stability, we hosted cross-sector discussions at a two-day gathering at Stanford’s Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) in October 2019. These discussions identified the critical necessity for a secure, global, crisis communications ability.
CATALINK: an additive solution to the likely communication breakdowns that will characterize crises in the digital age.
Holding the potential to avert catastrophes amidst rising tensions between adversaries, CATALINK is an additive solution to the likely communication breakdowns that will characterize crises in the digital age. The name derives from “cataclysm” and “link,” based on the real possibility that leaders of nuclear-armed states might be cut off from traditional communications lines when they matter most. CATALINK encompasses an open-source, global community. The CATALINK system would build on the “hotline” model of previous generations, and rely on internationally driven open-source technologies to maximize user integrity and trust. It would exploit redundant transmission capabilities to ensure that multiple parties could connect under extreme conditions, including loss of power and absence of cellular and internet connectivity. The endpoint devices would be designed for durability, availability, and ease of use, enabling parties to immediately connect with confidence amid crises.
CATALINK is an internationally-minded solution that has the potential to avert catastrophes amidst rising tensions between adversaries.To learn more about our initiative to build CATALINK or if you are interested in joining the effort, please visit our CATALINK project page here within our Tech Works pillar.
The October 2019 workshop that this project stems from was conducted under the operating protocols of the Chatham House rule, and the conveners of the workshop were The Institute for Security and Technology (formerly Tech4GS), The Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability and The Stanley Center for Peace and Security, and made possible by generous support from the MacArthur Foundation. In partnership with Nautilus, we are releasing a series of reports and the second season of The Fourth Leg based on the discussions held during the workshop. Take a look, and get in touch with your questions, comments, and ideas – [email protected]
Below you will find reports and accompanying podcasts authored by industry, government, and academia experts that detail the background and reasoning behind CATALINK.