Virtual Library

Our research repositories present a collection of open-source resources that showcase research and analysis that has directly influenced our initiatives. Non-IST publications are copyrighted by external authors not affiliated with IST.

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Reports

Combatting Ransomware: A Comprehensive Framework for Action: Key Recommendations from the Ransomware Task Force

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Reports

Future Digital Threats to Democracy – Trends and Drivers

Vera Zakem, Alexa Wehsener, Nina M. Miller

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Reports

Hotline Between Two Koreas: Status, Limitations and Future Tasks

Dr. Chung-in Moon and Boo Seung-Chan

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Reports

Building Communications Norms Across Nuclear C2

Dr. Salma Shaheen

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Reports

Nuclear Hotlines: Origins, Evolution, Applications

Steven E. Miller

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Reports

Formals Methods for NC3 Systems

Adam Wick

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Reports

Pay Attention

Alexa Wehsener

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We also welcome additional suggestions from readers, and will consider adding further resources as so much of our work has come through crowd-sourced collaboration already. If, for any chance you are an author whose work is listed here and you do not wish it to be listed in our repository, please, let us know.

SUBMIT CONTENT
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Virtual Event and Live Q&A with Mr. Nand Mulchandani, Acting Director of the U.S. Department of Defense Joint Artificial Intelligence Center

United Kingdom: Nuclear Weapon, Command, Control, and Communications

Philip Reiner and Peter Hayes with Rear Admiral John Gower

SUMMARY

The United Kingdom formally became a nuclear weapon state in 1952, with operational systems from 1955. The UK’s strategic deterrent has evolved over the past 66 years of it being a nuclear armed state. Nuclear weapon system information, particularly the detail of national command, control and associated communications systems and protocols, are among the most tightly guarded and classified secrets of any nation. The UK is no exception to this, and until the decision to release some of the protocols and procedures as part of the Cabinet Office co-operation with a BBC Radio programme in 2008, every facet of current national arrangements was classified. In this segment, Rear Admiral Gower states that the UK Nuclear Weapon Command Control and Communications (UK NC3) architecture is designed and operated to support SSBN strategic nuclear deterrence in all foresee­able circumstances from peacetime to nuclear conflict. “Through multiple paths and frequencies, fall-back and alternative systems and with dedicated and unique encryption and processes it delivers continuous availability for the Prime Minister should a decision to launch be made.” This segment goes into further detail regarding the multiple communication paths, frequencies, fall-back systems, and encryption needed to continuously enable the UK’s Prime Minister to act on a nuclear launch decision.

This podcast is accompanied by Rear Admiral John Gower’s paper “United Kingdom: Nuclear Weapons Command, Control, Communication.”


The Fourth Leg is a series of podcasts focused on one of the most complex systems in the world today – nuclear command and control – and its increasingly complicated future. Within this series we go straight to the experts, across multiple sectors, to discuss the modernization of nuclear command and control systems.

Along with colleagues from the Nautilus Institute and the Preventive Defense Project, IST recently hosted over 50 international experts at Stanford University to anticipate technical challenges that will arise from the modernization of complex nuclear command and control systems. We aim to spotlight some of the vulnerabilities within a modernized NC3 system while furthering the conversation with this series.

​Keep an eye on IST, as we will begin additional podcast series in the coming months focused on how to fix the internet, AI and global stability, and other critical tech and security issues- for now, we have so much more to talk about, so let’s get started.