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Conflicting Guidance: Analyzing the Roles and Responsibilities of the Air Force Nuclear Command, Control and Communications Center (AFNC3C)

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Technical Report

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The Air Force Nuclear Command, Control, and Communications Center AFNC3C activated on 1 October 2016 as a provisional Primary Subordinate Unit PSU to Air Force Global Strike Command AFGSC. Per the direction of Program Action Directive PAD 16-01, the AFNC3C was to have oversight and responsibility for the organize, train, and equip OT and E mission of AFNC3 and the NC3 Weapon System for the AF while serving under the authority of the AFGSCA6 Director. However, on 3 April 2017, the AFNC3C stood up under a different organizational construct. The commander of AFGSC, General Robin Rand gave Command of the AFNC3C to Colonel Mark Jablow with the understanding that the AFNC3C would be the focal point for Air Force NC3. The idea was clear, but fully executing that order has been challenging. Examination of the guidance in PAD 16-01, AFGSC Capstone Concept of Operations CONOPS, AFGSC Instruction 10-602, General Rand, and the AFNC3C, found that none of these agree as to who should own what AFNC3 roles and responsibilities within the command. One could assume it belongs to the AFNC3C however, the guidance assessed in this study suggests that others do not share this assumption. Through a comparative analysis, the author provides a chronological description of the problem highlighting the divergence in guidance and how each divergence has manifested into confusion in roles and responsibilities within AFGSC and tensions between the AFGSC A-Staff and the AFNC3C. Supported by additional Air Force Instructions and personal interviews across AFGSC and the AFNC3C, the author shows that clearly written guidance matters. For without clearly written guidance, the mission could fail, and failure of the NC3 mission is not an option.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Command, Control and Communications Systems

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