OMAHA, Neb. – Deterrence experts from around the world gathered at the CenturyLink Center where U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) kicked off the eighth annual Deterrence Symposium July 26.
Opening the symposium, Gen. John E. Hyten, commander of USSTRATCOM, thanked the audience of more than 650 for attending the symposium, to include the 13 international partners, all of whom are here to reinvigorate the international discussion on deterrence.
“Twenty-first century deterrence is different from Cold War deterrence ... today’s security environment is complex dynamic and volatile,” said Hyten.
“Deterrence today is not a single adversary and it is not a bipolar world. Deterrence today is a multipolar, multi-domain problem. The United States has to be concerned, along with our allies, with multiple actors with an expanding range of capabilities that are available to them,” he explained.
He continued, “But make no mistake, the components of our nuclear triad have always been, and will continue to be, the backbone of our nation’s deterrent force. That is where deterrence starts.”
Hyten also discussed the concept of deterrence with regard to the distinction between domains and actors. “You do not deter in a place [such as in space], you deter actors. War is with an adversary not a place, you don’t deter places, you deter actors, you deter an adversary.”
The global warfighting command hosts this international deterrence symposium to discuss and promote increased collaboration of 21st century strategic deterrence issues among industry, military, governmental, international and academic experts. The theme for this year’s symposium is “Impacts of Deterrence and Assurance Concepts and Capabilities.”
“An integrated, tailored approach is the key to deterrence in the 21st century. Unfortunately, many have forgotten how to have a real conversation on deterrence, and that is what this conference is all about a real conversation on deterrence,” said Hyten.
U.S. Rep. Don Bacon, Nebraska's 2nd congressional district, also provided opening remarks, during which he highlighted the importance of maintaining the nuclear triad, including intercontinental ballistic missile levels at over 400, the funding of the B-21 Raider, and the Columbia Class Ballistic Missile Submarine, altogether ensuring the health of the force and the U.S. capability to project strategic deterrence.
The two-day symposium features a series of panels where international deterrence experts discuss a wide-range of topics, such as: evolving international partnerships, potential responses to adversary use of nuclear weapons, and strategic stability.
“At this symposium, we seek to expand the debate with our Academic Alliance, we have 38 members of the academic alliance in (US) STRATCOM, we also have representatives from across the government, allies, think tanks, national labs, industry, and academia, all here to carry the discussion forward,” said Hyten. “We have to invigorate this broader international discussion on deterrence.”
The conference also included speeches from U.S. Army Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, commander of U.S. Forces Korea, United Nations Command and Republic of Korea-U.S. Combined Forces Command; U.S. Air Force Gen. (ret.) Larry Welch, Senior Fellow, Institute for Defense Analyses; David Bakradze, Georgia’s ambassador to the U.S.; and Isabelle Desmartis, Canadian Department of National Defense director of general policy planning.
Gen. Hyten concluded his opening remarks by reminding the audience that “the 184,000 men and women who perform the job of strategic deterrence every day, in every domain…are the umbrella of safety that the U.S. and all the nations rely on for our strategic deterrence commitment.”