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.

Submit your Content

Reports

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

viewpdf

Reports

Future Digital Threats to Democracy – Trends and Drivers

Vera Zakem, Alexa Wehsener, Nina M. Miller

viewpdf

Reports

Hotline Between Two Koreas: Status, Limitations and Future Tasks

Dr. Chung-in Moon and Boo Seung-Chan

viewpdfpodcast icon

Reports

Building Communications Norms Across Nuclear C2

Dr. Salma Shaheen

viewpdf

Reports

Nuclear Hotlines: Origins, Evolution, Applications

Steven E. Miller

viewpdfpodcast icon

Reports

Formals Methods for NC3 Systems

Adam Wick

viewpdfpodcast icon

Reports

Pay Attention

Alexa Wehsener

viewpdf

Contribute to our Library!

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
Playing now

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 Weapons Command, Control, Communications

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 its 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 program in 2008, every facet of current national arrangements was classified.

In this essay, 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 essay 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 paper is accompanied by a Fourth Leg podcast: United Kingdom: Nuclear Weapon, Command, Control, and Communications

download pdf