The Strategic Forces Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee is warning that Air Force plans to replace aging E-4B Nightwatch command-post aircraft are lagging. The four modified 747s would be used to command and control U.S. nuclear weapons in a war. In fact, they might be one of the few parts of the command-and-control system that survives the opening salvoes of an East-West war. Without them, it could prove impossible for the nation’s top leaders to retaliate against nuclear aggression in a coherent way. So the planes are crucial to the U.S. deterrent posture. But they aren’t the only component of the nuclear command-and-control system where Air Force plans seem to be lagging. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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