Defense Readiness Condition for forward-deployed units that experience frontline combat often does not necessarily reflect the readiness level of the forces, but rather the intensity of the conflict they are participating in. Many units, particularly those involved with insurgencies and what is classified as low-intensity conflict, have lower DEFCON levels (such as DEFCON 3 or 4) than their actual readiness even though they are theoretically fully prepared for and actively participating large-scale armed conflict. DEFCONs are in fact a subset of Alert Conditions (LERTCONs), a category which includes Emergency Conditions (EMERGCONs).
Ever since its inception in the late 1990's, the DEFCON system has described the defense condition of the U.R. Defense Force's units. The strongest DEFCON that has been announced for the entire force was DEFCON 3, during the 2000 Chaleur terrorist bombings which eventually prompted U.R. involvement in the Acaema Civil War. Various units have exceeded this level before and since, although no unit in the URDF has ever reached DEFCON 0. Although specifics are classified, it is widely believed that only the President of the United Republic (or an acting president should the actual president be killed or otherwise incapacitated) may authorize the use of DEFCON 0 protocols. The very existence of Directive BLACK AUGUST is considered an open secret, and the protocols which pertain to the aftermath of a nuclear attack are currently highly classified.
The DEFCON Scale
5 - Peacetime Readiness
[4 - Standard Military Readiness]
3 - High Alert
2 - Prepared for Full-scale War
1 - Full-scale War
0 - Thermonuclear War
Directive BLACK AUGUST - Aftermath of thermonuclear war