Adm. Charles Richard, commander of the U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM), has assured members of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) that the U.S. nuclear command, control and communications (NC3) network is secured and resilient but added that cybersecurity must be part of its priority investments to ensure its defense against cyberattacks in the long-term, Breaking Defense reported Tuesday.
He said during a SASC hearing that the command is currently enhancing the NC3 system as part of larger U.S. nuclear force structure modernization plans.
"I have to get it out of legacy modes of operation in order to pace this threat going in the future," added Richard. The STRATCOM head and other officials consider cybersecurity as an NC3 network modernization requirement. In support of the effort, the NC3 Next initiative has four focus areas to ensure that technologies being integrated into the network are up-to-date.
"The first focuses on programs of record encompassing budget and acquisition lifecycle processes… The second assesses demonstrations, experiments and tests aimed at enhancing discovery and development of innovative technology approaches to transform existing NC3 programs and operations," he said.
The third focus aims to streamline enterprise guidance by reviewing and revising tactics, techniques and procedures as well as policies and postures.
"The fourth expands the use of critical technology enablers such as artificial intelligence, digital engineering, and modeling and simulation,” Richard said.