Virtual Library

Our virtual library is an online repository of all of the reports, papers, and briefings that IST has produced, as well as works that have influenced our thinking.

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Reports

Unlocking U.S. Technological Competitiveness: Public-Private Misalignments in Biotechnology, Energy, and Quantum Sectors

Ben Purser, Pavneet Singh

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Reports

Effects of Electromagnetic Pulses on Communication Infrastructure: An IST Primer

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Reports

How Does Access Impact Risk? Assessing AI Foundation Model Risk Along a Gradient of Access

Zoë Brammer, along with contributors from the AI Foundation Model Access Working Group

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Fact Sheet

DOD and SBA Launch the Small Business Investment Company Critical Technology (SBICCT) Initiative

Strategic Balancing Initiative

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Fact Sheet

White House Releases Outbound Investment Executive Order

Strategic Balancing Initiative

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Reports

Strengthening Resilience in 21st Century Crisis Communications

Alexa Wehsener, Sylvia Mishra

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Fact Sheet

DoD Releases the National Defense Science and Technology Strategy

Strategic Balancing Initiative

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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

Last Chance: Communicating at the Nuclear Brink

Institute for Security and Technology, Nautilus Institute

SUMMARY

Nuclear war threatens the existence of humanity. Managing this risk depends on the ability of nine supreme nuclear commanders to avoid using nuclear weapons or to de- escalate rapidly after initial use, rather than drive toward full-scale nuclear cataclysm. Unfortunately, current nuclear command, control, and communications (NC3) systems to control nuclear weapons and communicate with one’s own forces and those of adversaries—to step back from the brink of nuclear war, or to end it once it begins— may not be up to the task, in light of novel technical developments of the early 21st century. Today NC3 systems are in fact “systems of systems” that rely on legacy and modern technologies that are increasingly vulnerable to digital and other rapidly emerging, disruptive capabilities. This fact has been laid bare in recent years through U.S. government-sponsored research, including that of the U.S. Defense Science Board. If and when NC3 systems fail under stress, however, leaders must have a way to communicate to step back from the brink.

As a result, this report outlines a vision for a novel “hotline” system, devised through conversations between public and private actors from around the world, that would enable secure and verifiable communications between leaders during nuclear crises and other high-stakes scenarios. This unique, resilient system is designed for “radical simplicity” from the hardware up, with as few components as possible. The proposed system would augment but not replace hotlines currently used by governments around the world or provide such links where they do not already exist. Such a hotline system would also provide a communications option for rapid and reliable connectivity between heads of state and senior nuclear commanders. We call this system CATALINK, from the terms “cataclysm” and “link.”

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