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Nuclear Pakistan Perceptions and reality 

Management Structures of Pakistan’s Nuclear Capability

Compiled by Kashif

Consequent to the May 1998 tests, a well-conceived and well deliberated management structure was developed by Pakistan and put in place informally in 1999, and formally in February 2000 i.e. within three months of General Musharraf’s government. The command and Control Organization is structurally grouped under three constituents:-

  1. Constituent I- National command Authority (NCA).
  2. Constituent 2 – Strategic Plans Division (SPD).
  3. Constituent 3 – Strategic forces Commands.

Constituent-1. National Command Authority (NCA)

It comprises of the ten highest decision makers of the country and included the political and the military leadership. The NCA, which is the apex decision making body, formulates policy and centrally controls all aspects of Pakistan’s nuclear capability including deployment and, if ever necessary, the employment of Strategic system. The Chairman is the President and the Prime Minister is the Vice Chairman. It has two committees: the employment control committee (ECC), and the Development control committee (DCC), functioning separately for policy formulation, employment and development aspects respectively,

  1. Organization of NCA
  2. Main Functions of

Employment Control Committee

(1) Reviews from time to time the latest information on the threat strategic weapons programme, their development and deployments.

(2) Decides on appropriate response options to the foregoing developments.

(3) Provides policy directions in peacetime and has the authority to order, control and direct use/employment of tri-services strategic forces during war.

(4) Gives policy directions and guidance for evolution of doctrines and employment policy.

(5) Lay s down guidelines for an effective command and control system to safeguard against accidental or unauthorized use.

Main Functions of Development Control Committee

(1) A subordinate committee of the NCA, it oversees the implementation of the polices and decisions of the ECC.

(2) Exercises day to day technical, financial and administrative control over the strategic organizations.

(3) Oversees the systematic development of strategic weapons programme as per approved Development Strategy.

Constituent-2. Strategic Plans Division) (SPD)

Strategic plans division is the secretariat to the National command Authority, and is entrusted with the task of developing and managing Pakistan’s nuclear capability in all dimensions whether these be operational, planning, weapons development, arms control and disarmament affairs, command and control, storage, safely, budgets, etc. In short, “anything and everything that has to do with the nation’s nuclear capability is handled at the SPD, for and on behalf of the National command Authority”.

  1. The SPD functions directly under the President, the Prime Minster and the Chairman Joint chiefs of Staff committee, and is headed by DG SPD. It has a lean organization and is staffed by about 70 officers Joint Chiefs of Staff committee, and is headed by DG SPD. It has a lean organization and is staffed by about 70 officers from the three services.
  2. Main Functions of SPD. While handling comprehensively all aspect of all aspects of the nuclear programme, strategic plans Divisions performs the following specific function on behalf of the NCS:-
  3. Formulation of the country’s nuclear policy nuclear strategy and nuclear doctrines.
  4. Formulation of short and long term force development strategy for tri-services strategic forces, within the ambit of national power potential, nuclear doctrine and arms control regimes, and overseeing its implementation.
  5. Formulation of strategic and operational plans at the joint services level for the movement, deployment and employment of strategic forces.
  6. Undertakes Measures for the Safety and Security of Strategic Assets in the Short and Long Term.

(1) Assists the President, the Prime Minister and the CJCSC in exercising control over strategic organizations, and coordinates their financial, technical, developmental, and administrative aspects.

(2) Provides military inputs any’ coordinates strategic positions with the foreign Office, and key Pakistani ambassadors at the conference on Disarmament (CD) Geneva, at the IAEA Vienna, Washington, the UN in New York, etc, on related strategic issues.

(3) Coordinates and ensures the establishment of the Strategic C4I2SR system for the national command authority for the command and control of strategic assets with real time linkages to the Services C4I2SR networks and Strategic Forces.

Constituent – 3. Strategic Forces Command at Each Service

Separate Strategic forces commands have been raised in all the three service. The services retain training, technical and administrative control over their Strategic forces. However, operational planning and control rests entirely with the NCA under the overall military direction of the CJCSC. SPD coordinates all operational and other related aspects with services headquarters.

  1. Development of a Strategic C4I2SR System

Employment of strategic forces requires a robust, sophisticated and elaborate command, control and communications system. For this system to operate efficiently, it ahs 😮 be backed up by an effective and responsive strategic intelligence network, capable of providing accurate and real time information to facilitate the decision making process. Surveillance and reconnaissance means must be built into the system. This is turn necessitates the integration and computerization of all these components.

Over watch on Scientific Manpower

Pakistan realizes the need to maintain an over watch and regulate the movement of its scientific manpower. We have put in place a system of reporting, approvals and monitoring of all movements of the scientific manpower, especially key personnel in possession of sensitive knowledge. All visits abroad irrespective, including those to IAEA or for educational or private purposes require SPD clearances after careful scrutiny. Additionally, we prefer to retain retiring sensitive personnel within the system in various informal positions so as to preclude their accesses to undesirable attractions as to continue to benefit from their expertise for as long as possible. The Personnel Reliability Program (PRP) and the Human Reliability Program (HRP) being instituted ensure a good “cradle to grave arrangement” of oversight.

Weekly Monthly and Quarterly Security and Intelligence Reports

In addition to the counter Intelligence Teams (CITs), which act as the eyes and ears of SPD on a daily basis, each Security Directorate, whether at a Strategic Organisation or a Strategic Force Command, initiates weekly, monthly and quarterly reports to the SPD incorporating all security and intelligence related events for the period under review.

These reports enable the SPD to remain abreast of all developments and leave nothing to chance. The emphasis remains on keeping a watch on any untoward development or carelessness that can lead to security lapses, proliferation, deliberate or inadvertent, or theft or loss or accident.

Sensitive Material Control and Accounting (MC & A)

There is a strict system of material control and Accounting on modern scientific lines, wherein, regular and surprise checks are carried out to tally sensitive material production and account for wastes, down to the last gram. This involves more that one organization as a counter check and includes the SPD for purposes of transparency and accountability.

Transportation Security and Specialist Vehicle

We are particularly conscious of providing the tightest security during transportation of sensitive materials. Specialist vehicles and containers with theft and tamper proofing are provided for such purposes under professionally organized escorts in strength. Two Man Rule, Codes and Permissive Action Links (PALs) Pakistan has well developed physical safety mechanisms and firewalls in the weapons and in the chain of command that will ensure that unauthorised use will never take place, especially by a single individual, but that the weapon will be ready when required, at the shortest notice. It is important to understand that South Asia is not a US-USSR model with weapons on hair trigger alert.

Establishment of Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA)

To improve our existing efforts and regulations o radiation safety, Pakistan established in December 2001, a fully autonomous national authority called the Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority (PNRA), partly in compliance with our obligations under the Convention of Nuclear safety (CNS). Major functions of PNRA are:-

  1. It oversees and ensures the safety of civilian nuclear facilities and protection against radiation risks especially in nuclear power plants.
  2. It undertakes licensing, registration, disposal and accounting of all radioactive sources that may have been imported in the country for whatever purposes including X-Ray machines, engineering machinery, R & D, etc. This security measure assumes special significance because of the “dirty bomb” spectre. I am glad to say that in the six year of its establishment, the PNRA has moved exceptionally fast, registering 100% of al knows sources in the country and developing a safety and awareness culture.
  3. It ensures necessary regulations on radiation protection for individuals and facilities.
  4. While the PNRA is fully autonomous, as indeed a regulator should be, the DG SPD is a member of PNRA so as to retain linkages with the safety aspects of the classifies program.

Export Control Act 2004

In order to regulate Exports of goods, Technologies, Material and Equipment related to nuclear and Biological Weapons, and their Delivery Systems, Export Control Act was promulgated in September 2004. Its implementation is being ensured through the following up measures:

  1. Notifying a National Control List (NCL), with catch all provision, incorporating the NSG, the Australia Group and MTCR lists.
  2. Establishment of a Strategic Export control Division (SECDIV) and an oversight Board at the Foreign Office to regulate export license.
  3. Salient features of the Export control Act are:

(1) Deals with goods, technologies, material and equipment related to nuclear and biological weapons and their delivery systems.

(2) Covers re-export, trans-shipment and transit of goods, technologies, material and equipment. Prohibits diversion of controlled goods and technologies.

(3) It has wide jurisdiction and includes Pakistanis visiting or working abroad.

(4) It has licensing and record keeping provisions.

(5) Penal provisions provide for unto 14 years imprisonment and Rs. 5 Million fine plus confiscation of assets / property.

It is important to understand that Pakistan, unlike most developed countries, does not have a nuclear industry in the private sector. The capacity for production of fissile material, even for civilian applications, is with the public sector, specifically the PAEC and the KRL.

Therefore, while it is essential to have the elaborate export control legislation and its implementation mechanism in place, in line with international best practices, practically speaking, there is no private vendor in Pakistan who will ever apply for export permits.

Physical Security

Pakistan has always taken in the realm of physical security on the ground, and these continue to be improved and strengthened. Pakistan assurance, that the concept of physical security on the ground in based on the principles of multiple layers, defence in depth and an ability to detect and defeat both insider and outside threat. Outside threat both of the current terrorist type and of large type of a force.



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