Are nuclear arsenals safe from cyber attack? We may be standing at the edge of a major technological challenge to global nuclear order. The increasing sophistication of hacking and cyber weapons, information warfare capabilities, and other dynamics of the cyber age are challenging the management, safeguards, and warning systems for nuclear weapons. Every nuclear power is currently modernizing its nuclear command, control, and communications (NC3) capabilities, but there is a danger that in upgrading computer systems and making NC3 more networked, states may inadvertently also make their nuclear arsenals more vulnerable to breaches, interference, or even unintended use. In addition to implications for NC3, this new age also affects nuclear strategy, escalation dynamics in crisis management, and the ability to safeguard nuclear secrets. Andrew Futter cuts through the hype surrounding these challenges and provides a framework through which to understand and proactively address the implications of this emerging cyber-nuclear nexus.
Andrew Futter is an associate professor in the School of History, Politics, and International Relations at the University of Leicester. He is the author of The Politics of Nuclear Weapons and Ballistic Missile Defence and US National Security Policy, the editor of The United Kingdom and the Future of Nuclear Weapons, and co-editor of Reassessing the Revolution in Military Affairs.