Earlier on Thursday, Army Col. Ray Hernandez, the battle watch commander in the Global Operations Center, stood in the middle of a room full of computers, massive projection screens on the wall and boxy telephones -- some with more than 100 buttons -- explaining how the facility would respond to a North Korea
n missile launch, or a nuclear war. There are still relics here of the Cold War, like digital clocks on the wall that would count down the time remaining before an enemy nuclear weapon detonated in the U.S., or a U.S. weapon struck an enemy. Under that, there's another clock that displays the time the STRATCOM commander has to safely escape the ops center if a nuclear missile was inbound. The commander would run up a stairway into a waiting vehicle that would rush to a nearby E-6B aircraft equipped with an airborne version of the underground command center.