COG spot

A blog dedicated to my historical interests, including secrecy, intelligence, nuclear command and control, intelligence and Continuity of Government

House's SECURE cyber bill.

Just released.

Continuity of Government during a cyber attack

Take the FEMA course for first responders online!

NORAD/NORTHCOM’s command center scrambled into action by Boston bombing | The E-Ring

Continental defense alert procedures have changed significantly after 9/11.

After-Action Report From FEMA's National Level Exercise / 2012

How the government practices for emergencies.  Sound familiar?

The NLE 2012 scenario backstory centered on Nation State X (NS-X). NS-X sought to erode the public’s trust in their security and safety and cause impacts to the U.S. economy by disrupting critical infrastructure networks and information technology infrastructures, logistics systems, and the communications capabilities of U.S. Federal and state agencies. Towards this goal, NS-X launched a campaign that included a series of carefully orchestrated and coordinated activities and components. The campaign resulted in vulnerabilities in network interface cards, embedded network communications devices, and supervisory control and data acquisition networks. Not only did the campaign exploit these vulnerabilities in attacks against critical infrastructure networks, but it also released a combination of botnets and remote access tool programs that caused a disruption of communications, loss of data, and the unavailability of certain key services. 

Nuclear command and control high frequency architecture

(Source: q29e)

The architecture of the High Frequency Global Communications System used by the Department of Defense to broadcast high-priority messages, including Emergency Action Messages, to deployed forces. (c/o Rockwell Collins)

Military exercises by combatant command.
How nuclear command and control works. (source: u/k).

Nuclear Matters: The DoD on its weapons

Every so often, the Department of Defense publishes a book about nuclear weapons. Called “Nuclear Matters,” it’s distributed to members of the nuclear-industrial complex, to students of national security, and to policy analysts. Although unclassified and available on a DoD website, it generally doesn’t get around much. But it should. It includes a good overview of the U.S. nuclear stockpile, some relevant information about the laws governing how nuclear material is stored and handled, and who in the government has particular responsibilities for accidents. There’s also a neat primer on nuclear weapons physics and on the complicated secrecy classification system for all things nuclear: (that’s NC2-ESI, SIGMA, CWINDI, RD, FRD, ATOMAL, etc). 

For example:

"Sigma 14. That category of sensitive information (including bypass  scenarios) concerning the vulnerability of nuclear weapons to a  deliberate unauthorized nuclear detonation.

Sigma 15. That category of sensitive information concerning the design and function of nuclear weapon use control systems, features, and components. This includes use control for passive and active  systems. It may include weapon design features not specifically part of a use control system.”

And there’s a new category of Sigma — Sigma 20, that’s kind of scary: 

"A specific category of nuclear weapon data that pertain to  sensitive improvised nuclear device information.”

One thing this particular book does not address is the architecture of the  nuclear command and control system. Much of it was declassified after the end of the Cold War and reclassified after 9/11. Older Nuclear Matters books I’ve seen even include pictures of “Site R,” the Defense Department’s Alternate National Military Command Center. This one doesn’t even mention the President’s Nuclear Satchel, a.k.a, The Football.

Matthew Aid: Contractor SIGINT Analyst Wanted in Afghanistan


April 3, 2013

This is the sort of “help wanted” ad for intelligence jobs that drives me up the wall. The following job listing has been posted by a civilian defense contractor seeking a former U.S. military signals intelligence (SIGINT) analyst willing to spend a year or two in Afghanistan…

More open source info from job postings.