National Military Command Center
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The National Military Command Center (NMCC), located in the Pentagon, is operated by the J-3 (Operations) Directorate of the Joint Staff, and houses the central command and communications center for the National Command Authority (i.e. the U.S. President and the U.S. Secretary of Defense). The facility, which is composed of several war rooms, is the principal command and control center of the Department of Defense. It is commonly referred to as the NMCC.
The NMCC has three main missions. The primary task of the NMCC is to monitor worldwide events for the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS). The NMCC also has a crisis response component (e.g., response to the bombing of the USS Cole) and a strategic watch component (e.g., monitoring nuclear activity).
This center is not directly necessary to initiate a nuclear attack, but it essentially serves as a communications/operations center for nearby Washington, D.C., particularly with regard to maintaining the American end of the famous U.S.-Russian hotline ("Red telephone"). It coordinated the response to events such as the September 11 attacks, the attack on the USS Liberty, and Payne Stewart's plane crash. The NMCC is responsible for generating Emergency Action Messages (EAMs) to launch control centers, nuclear submarines, recon aircraft and battlefield commanders worldwide.
The NMCC is operated by five teams on a rotating watch system. Each team typically has 17-20 personnel on duty performing a wide variety of functions including communications. Teams are led by a Deputy Director for Operations (DDO) and Assistant DDO, and are divided into five duty positions:
- Leadership (one DDO and one Assistant Deputy Director for Operations (ADDO))
- Current Operations Section (two Senior Operations Officers (SOO) and one Current Operations Officer (COO))
- Emergency Action Element (three Senior Emergency Actions Officers, EAO, EA NCO)
- Surveillance (one Officer)
- Supporting Sections (approximately 8-10 individuals)
The more than 300 people in the NMCC have responsibilities that are operational in nature. The NMCC is not funded by the Joint Staff, but by the Department of the Air Force which as DoD Executive Agent provides logistical, budgetary, facility and systems support to the NMCC.
The JCS J-3 Command Systems Operations Division manages the operations of the J-3 information system facilities and maintains operational control of the Crisis Management Automated Data Processing System for the National Military Command Center.
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