Securing the U.S. Defense Information Infrastructure: A Proposed Approach

By Robert H. Anderson; Phillip M. Feldman Scott et al. | Go to book overview

Appendix A
HISTORICAL NOTE ON THE U.S. MINIMUM
ESSENTIAL EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS
NETWORK (MEECN)

The cold war predecessor of the MEII concept was the Minimum Essential Emergency Communications Network (MEECN). The pur/ pose of the MEECN was to assure the timely receipt of emergency action messages (EAMs) that initiate execution of the Single Integrated Operational Plan by worldwide U.S. nuclear forces under nuclear attack by the Soviet Union. Day-to-day communications between the command authorities and U.S. nuclear forces were de/ pendent on military and commercial systems that were either not expected to survive nuclear attack or that had unacceptable perfor/ mance uncertainties in nuclear-effects environments. For example, it was known that high-frequency communications are subject to blackout and land-line (PSN) communications depend on a relatively small number of fixed, targetable switching stations and net control nodes.

The dependence of strategic communications on the PSN was par/ ticularly troublesome. The problem was that the damage potential from various possible modes of attack could never be reliably as/ sessed. Further, as a consequence of these uncertainties and because of the potential expense of hardening the PSN systems “just in case,” alternatives had to be developed and fielded. The alternatives to this and other strategic communications problems evolved over time into the MEECN.

The MEECN was a dedicated overlay on day-to-day communications systems such as the PSN. It consisted of command, control, and

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