U.S. nuclear bombers lack satellite terminals for atomic emergencies

June 16, 2015 10:37 am 

WASHINGTON, June 16 — U.S. satellite terminals to ensure communications with nuclear bombers do not yet exist and have been delayed indefinitely, a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report said.

“[The] development of key satellite communication terminals for strategic bomber aircraft has been deferred by several years,” the report said. “Further details remain classified.”

The terminals were planned to be part of a massive nuclear command, communications and control (NC3) system, the GAO explained.

The NC3 was supposed to be comprised of numerous land, air and space-based components, the GAO noted, that tie together nuclear forces and their commanders all the way up to the White House with “survivable, secure, and enduring communications through all threat environments.”

The GAO said it focused its review on seven NC3 programs “that pertain to planning, decision making, situation monitoring, force management and force direction.”

The GAO chose to focus on these key NC3 programs because they “are among the largest… in terms of estimated cost and… critical capabilities,” the report said.

In its investigations, the GAO interviewed numerous officials from the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Strategic Command, the Defense Information Systems Agency, Air Force Global Strike Command as well as Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and other relevant agencies, it said.

The Government Accountability Office is an independent, non-partisan agency that works for Congress and investigates how the U.S. federal government spends taxpayer dollars. (PNA/Sputnik)

JBP/SSC

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