U.S. Space-Based Nuclear Command and Control: A Guide

The United States has long depended on a vast array of complex sensing and communications infrastructure to receive warning in the event of a nuclear attack and to execute nuclear orders. This command and control network is highly reliant on space-based assets to operate and provide dependable information to decision makers in the event of a nuclear crisis. This paper aims to provide a comprehensive outline of the contribution of satellites in the U.S. nuclear command and control network, analyze space assets in the nuclear modernization process, explore vulnerabilities and the risks they face as the space environment becomes more contested, and propose policy solutions to strengthen and protect this vital infrastructure. This information should serve as a resource for scholars, practitioners, and decisionmakers to better understand this complex system and the unique challenges it faces in today’s space environment.


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