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Academic discusses US nuclear command and control modernisation

Dr Andrew Futter from the Department of Politics and International Relations has written an article about US nuclear command and control modernisation.

Hosted on Think: Leicester, the University's platform for academic opinion pieces, the article outlines how the current US nuclear command and control system is relatively simple, and the nature of its technology makes that system fairly easy to protect, and fairly easy to monitor, so military leaders know if something has gone wrong.

He suggests that the new command and control systems now in development will likely be fully digitized - and that as a result, those in charge may find it difficult keep pace with problems that arise much less train operators to recognize, diagnose, and fix them—and quickly.

He said: "Keeping the nuclear command and control system simple, separate, and secure may not seem very sexy in today’s digital world of extraordinary technological advance, but it might be the best way to minimize miscalculation, accidents, and even unauthorized use of nuclear weapons.

"Thus, while modernisation of nuclear control systems is to be welcomed, planners need to think long and hard about just what this system should do, and particularly the wisdom of commingling the apparatus used for nuclear, conventional, and, increasingly, cyber operations. Keeping this system simple and separate also helps reinforce the notion that modernization is not secretly designed to enhance nuclear usability. As the old adage goes, 'If it ain't broke, don’t fix it.'"

Are you a doctoral student/academic at the University of Leicester? Would you like to contribute an opinion piece about your research or topical news to Think: Leicester? Contact the News Centre to pitch your idea or read our submission guidelines.

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