The overarching question imparting urgency to this exploration is: Can U.S.-Russian contention in cyberspace cause the two nuclear superpowers to stumble into war? In considering this question we were constantly reminded of recent comments by a prominent U.S. arms control expert: At least as dangerous as the risk of an actual cyberattack, he observed, is cyber operations’ “blurring of the line between peace and war.” Or, as Nye wrote, “in the cyber realm, the difference between a weapon and a non-weapon may come down to a single line of code, or simply the intent of a computer program’s user.”
Lt. Col. Ron Allen will discuss the challenges involved in assuring that nuclear operations provide safe, secure, and credible deterrence.
Lieutenant Colonel Ronald G. Allen, Jr. is a joint research fellow with the International Security Program and Project on Managing the Atom. Prior to his current assignment, Lieutenant Colonel Allen was commander of the 625th Strategic Operations Squadron at Offutt AFB, Nebraska. He was responsible for all Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) targeting operations; the training, testing, and operation of the ICBM Airborne Launch Control System; the analysis of foreign ballistic missiles and development of the nation's Integrated Tactical Warning and Attack Assessment database; and operations management of the world-wide Strategic Automated Command and Control System (SACCS). He also served as the on-site Twentieth Air Force and Task Force 214 liaison to United States Strategic Command.
Lieutenant Colonel Allen entered the Air Force in 1994 after receiving his commission through the Air Force ROTC program at Texas A&M University. He has served in a variety of positions within missile and space launch operations, including crew commander, instructor, senior evaluator, flight commander, emergency war orders plans officer, and group executive officer. His staff assignments include the Joint Staff, Headquarters Air Force, and Air Force Space Command. He was selected for both the Air Force and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency intern programs. Prior to his command assignment, Lieutenant Colonel Allen served at Headquarters Air Force Space Command in the Directorate of Plans, Programs, & Analyses, where he was the Chief of their Program Integration Branch, developing their Presidential Budget submission.