The Triad’s Fourth Leg

A crucial component of the nation’s strategic nuclear triad that did not get the attention it deserved after the Cold War ended is its “fourth leg,” the command and control element that links it to the President at all times, says Air Force Gen. Kevin Chilton, US Strategic Command boss. Since only the President is authorized to unleash the nation’s nuclear arsenal, “we need to have that unbroken and assured chain of command and control from the President to his or her forces,” Chilton said Nov. 10 during a Capitol Hill speech. With the nation’s renewed emphasis on reinvigorating the nuclear enterprise, STRATCOM is now doing “a top-to-bottom scrub” of the C2 infrastructure to ensure that “the right investments [are] in place to sustain this critical element,” he said. (For more from Chilton’s speech, read Back to Work as well as Thinking Comprehensively.)