U.S. Strategic Command officials formally declared initial operational capability of the Nuclear Command, Control and Communications Enterprise Center, or NEC, April 3.
“This is an exciting time for USSTRATCOM. We are laying the ground floor to develop the NC3 (Nuclear Command, Control and Communications) architecture of the future that will serve the nation for decades to come,” said Vice Adm. David Kriete, USSTRACOM deputy commander.
In 2018, the secretary of defense appointed the commander of U.S. Strategic Command to be the single operational commander for NC3, with increased responsibilities for operations, requirements and systems engineering and integration.
The NEC acts as the heart of the NC3 enterprise, which has the primary goal of focusing on restructuring situation monitoring, decision-making, force direction, force management and planning for NC3.
Declaring initial operational capability marks a significant milestone in the USSTRATCOM’s commitment to deliver assured, resilient and reliable NC3 capabilities throughout the 21st century, said Elizabeth Durham-Ruiz, USSTRATCOM NC3 Enterprise Center director.
To achieve this milestone, USSTRATCOM was directed by the secretary of defense to execute the NC3 Governance Improvement Implementation Plan. The plan required USSTRATCOM to lay the foundation for the NEC, establish program roles, and provide direction to partner government agencies.
“The center was created to help break down stovepipes in NC3 operations across the Defense Department,” said Durham-Ruiz. “We want to bring a whole-of-government approach to NC3 as we focus on operations, requirements, systems engineering and integration and analytics for the entire enterprise.”
Kriete concluded, the NEC will continue to build capacity as resources flow to ensure sustainment of current NC3 capabilities, while designing and executing the next generation of NC3 Enterprise architecture over the coming decade.
USSTRATCOM has global responsibilities assigned through the Unified Command Plan that include strategic deterrence, nuclear operations, space operations, joint electromagnetic spectrum operations, global strike, missile defense and analysis and targeting.