Command/Control/Communication/Intelligence and Crisis Stability

  • Daniel Frei


The subject of command, control, communication and intelligence (C3I) systems is exceedingly sensitive and surrounded by secrecy. For fear of an all-out enemy attack of electronic countermeasures against their C3I systems, the powers are extremely reluctant to provide information. Therefore even the most elaborate studies on this subject1,2,3, to a greater of lesser extent, have to rely on mere inference or guessing. There is some variance, however; while US authorities have been relatively forthcoming in responding to information requests, public knowledge about Soviet systems is extremely scarce and ambiguous. Little is known also about the C3I systems of British, French and Chinese nuclear forces. The discussion about C3I thus tends to focus on American systems — rightly or wrongly assuming that a kind of correspondence exists among the C3I systems of all nuclear powers. Obviously, this assumption may be questioned because there are different national traditions, ‘styles’ and ‘cultures’ underlying the structuring and operation of C3I systems. This asymmetry will also have some implications for the type of practical conclusions and recommendations one wishes to offer in an arms control perspective; probably more often than not such critical advice addresses the US systems without necessarily being relevant to other systems as well.


False Alarm Nuclear Weapon International Security Alert Level Dual Time 
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© Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs 1988

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  • Daniel Frei

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