The President of the United States, in his role as Commander-In-chief of the Armed Forces, must at all times have a direct line of communication with the military.
SCU ZOOM back to Nightwatch aircraft
SV Crew relaxing in lounge and aroused by warning signal and prepare to leave (4 shots)
SV and GV crew and Maintenance engineers prepare for take-off (8 shots)
GTV helicopter arrives and men leave and enter aircraft (3 shots)
SV Ground crew prepare aircraft for takeoff (3 shots)
CU and GV aircraft taxis and takes off (2 shots)
Initials JKP:1742 JKP:1756
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The President of the United States, in his role as Commander-In-chief of the Armed Forces, must at all times have a direct line of communication with the military. The need is especially great during a national emergency. The National Military Command Centre (NMCC), located at the Pentagon in Washington, can provide the President such a facility in an emergency. If, for any reason, that centre cannot be used, an airborne command centre, known as "Nightwatch" is standing by.
In this official United States' Air Force film, released by the US department of Defence, the "Nightwatch" aircraft and crew are seen going through a mock exercise. The aircraft can be airborne and functioning as a communications centre within minutes.
SYNOPSIS: "Nightwatch" is the name given this United States' Air Force flying command centre. In the event of a national emergency, the President, as Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces, can use the aircraft to maintain communications with the military.
Standing by twenty-four hours a day, the aircraft can be airborne within minutes, carrying the same sophisticated communications equipment used in the National Military Command Centre, located in the Pentagon. Nightwatch would be used only if the ground-based command centre was not operational.
During an actual emergency, the aircraft would carry a full staff of. representatives of the President and of the Armed Forces Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The aircraft's mobility and the fact that it can be refuelled in flight, make it an obvious choice as a reserve communications centre.