FORT BELVOIR, Va. - Gen. C. Robert Kehler, commander, U.S. Strategic Command, unveiled the new Standing Joint Force Headquarters for Elimination during an official ceremony Feb. 3, an organization which provides expert planning, intelligence and operational capability for combating and eliminating weapons of mass destruction.
The ceremony marked the transition of the Joint Elimination Coordination Element and its mission set to the SJFHQ-E, thus streamlining and centralizing CWMD operations as recommended by the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review.
Testimony about emerging threats and capabilities to the House Committee of Armed Services in March 2011 highlighted the importance of CWMD, helping to lay the foundation for the SJFHQ-E to augment existing CWMD initiatives including synchronizing efforts and developing recommendations to minimize vulnerabilities.
"The standing headquarters will greatly increase the capability of the department to plan, train and execute WMD elimination operations, which include the ability to locate, characterize, secure, disable or destroy hostile WMD programs or capabilities in a non-permissive or semi-permissive environment," said Kenneth Handelman, acting assistant Secretary of Defense for Global Strategic Affairs, during his testimony to the HASC.
General Kehler stressed the importance of countering WMD during a recent interview for The Shield magazine, the official publication for the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and USSTRATCOM Center for Combating WMD.
"We have five primary objectives and priorities at STRATCOM, but there's one that transcends all five - the responsibility to combat WMD," General Kehler said. "The way we are trying to refine and synchronize the combating WMD plan, and establishing the Headquarters for the Joint Task Force for Elimination to strengthen our advocacy and improve information sharing collaboration - all of these are critically important steps for STRATCOM, and we are clearly vested in this. "
Maj. Gen. Eric Crabtree, deputy director, SCC-WMD, will retain his current position while serving as the new commander of the SJFHQ-E. The SJFHQ-E is a joint command and control element staffed with military servicemembers from DTRA and SCC-WMD.