Stratcom Head 'Uncomfortable' With Current Nuclear C3 System

Robert Kehler

The U.S. nuclear force’s command, control and communication component is in need of improvement, according to the U.S. Strategic Command’s leader.

Air Force Gen. Robert Kehler told the Senate Armed Services Committee last Tuesday that he is uncomfortable with the current state of the network and said the network is difficult to update, according to Air Force Times.

He added that the command has experienced issues with both satellites and ground control terminals. 

C3 aspects of nuclear weapons are being addressed under a $14 billion program producing advanced high frequency satellites.

The Air Force will launch six advanced high frequency satellites through 2017 in order to replace the current Milstar system.

The first such satellite was launched last year and the second is scheduled for deployment next month, Air Force Times reported. 

Kehler told lawmakers that ground control terminals are causing delays in deployment of satellites.

Kehler also said that if ground control is not improved, the government will not realize benefits of the new satellites.

The Air Force will see a $7 million increase for nuclear weapon support in the fiscal 2013 budget, according to the report. 

The Air Force will also get $80 million for modernization of nuclear weapons and another $161 million for a new STRATCOM headquarters.

Lt. Gen. William Donahue recently suggested that the Defense Department create a separate budget line dedicated to satellite communications.

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