Offutt Air Force Base, Neb.- (As Delivered) —
General John E. Hyten, commander of U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM): Good afternoon everybody thanks first of all, but Laura [Hyten] and Lisa [Richard] got introduced but did not get a round of applause. [U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Robert] Elder it’s good to see you, thanks for taking the time to come here, you’re a big part of this history. [U.S. Air Force Col. Jeffery Reiman] JB thanks for that introduction [U.S. Navy Capt] Chaplain [Mil] Yi it’s always good to have you give the prayer before the ceremony, well done. Thank you very much. Command Performance you do an awesome job of the national anthem, well done you guys. And then to the color guard, everybody in the color guard - everybody that serves in the honor guard, that’s above and beyond. Thanks very much for taking the time out of your schedule. Thank you for taking time to do it and do it right.
[U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Thomas] Bussiere I am honored to share the stage with you today and you’re kind of the last in a long line of pretty amazing people that have been in that job. You look at the names that are there, that were the commanders or deputy commanders of Global Strike, and it reads like the hall of fame: Gen. Elder, [U.S. Air Force] Gen. [Kevin] Chilton, [U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Floyd] Carpenter, [U.S. Air Force Gen. Stephen] Wilson, [U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Scott] Vander Hamm, [of] course [U.S. Navy Vice] Adm. [Charles] Richard, don’t want to leave him out, [U.S. Air Force Maj.] Gen. [Richard] Evans. Just look at the people that are on that list, it is truly remarkable.
The two gentlemen whose ceremonies I recently presided over at Task Force 134 in the Pacific. [U.S. Navy Rear] Adm. [Frederick] Fritz Roegge and [U.S. Navy Rear] Adm. Daryl Caudle they were also both deputies of JFCC [Joint Functional Component Command] Global Strike commanders.
But today marks just another transition in a long evolution of nuclear deterrence. Everybody here should be proud of the legacy of Global Strike. JB described some of the history and formation of Global Strike from 2005 onward. When you think about 2005, it’s really not that long ago. But to get to a true understanding of the historical significance of this event you have to go way back before 2005. You have to go all the back to 1946 and 1948 in the creation of the Strategic Air Command [SAC] and looking at the nuclear planning, and the nuclear structure, and the global strike planning in our history.
And by reviewing our history you will see organizational change is just part of our heritage, and it’s required to keep pace with the changes that go on in the world. When SAC was formed under [U.S. Air Force] Gen. [George] Kenney and then [U.S. Air Force] Gen. [Curtis] LeMay it was a bi-polar world with a single threat, the Soviet Union, a single domain, the air with bombers as the B-29, B-36, B-47, later the B-52, all focused on nuclear strike, that’s what it was. By 1960, our national leaders recognized the need for a centralized control of the war-planning effort. And because we couldn’t figure out how to do a strategic command at the time, we formed a Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff, the JSTPS. And that is the grandfather of Global Strike.
The main product of this organization was the SIOP, Single Integrated Operational Plan. That if you are of my age or similar age to Adm. Richard, Gen. Bussiere maybe. If you get to that age everything revolved around the SIOP when we were young. The SIOP was everything we did. That turned into the National Strategic Target List, today you know this as the Joint Target List, the National Target Base. But JSTPS integrated the capabilities, when they merged our submarine and ICBM [intercontinental ballistic missile] planning and targeting.
For 30 years, the JSTPS managed the U.S. nuclear planning and melded Air Force and Navy capabilities. And during these Cold War decades the services developed and fielded increasingly capable weapons and effectively deterred nuclear war. I often refer to these early days as the age of “speed and innovation,” because oh my gosh, if you look at that history we went fast. JSTPS is a great example of going fast and being adaptable, they adapted, they adjusted the organization, and evolved to meet the threat. And it was just the first of several iterations to this organization.
The modernization effort continued in 1992 when Goldwater-Nichols [Act of 1986] changed the DOD structure in ’86 and after the Soviet Union collapsed in ’91, the need for a single combatant command to control all U.S. nuclear forces led to the creation of U.S. Strategic Command. That was the original plan in 1961.
And in 1992, the unified command replaced SAC and JSTPS and adopted nuclear strike and deterrence. And USSTRATCOM remained responsible for these principal tasks for a decade following the Cold War. Once again it was just a natural adaptation. We adjusted and we evolved just like we are doing today.
Then 2002 we make more modifications, space came into the command. Space actually came into the military in 1954, but in 1985 we built another unified command that was U.S. Space Command. And to make strategic plans more responsive and efficient Space Command and STRATCOM merged on October 1, 2002, and the new USSTRATCOM assumed the space mission.
So we have already talked about the different iterations of Global Strike since 2005, but during the last 12 years Global Strike did some amazing things. Everybody that has been part of that should take pride in that. Odyssey Dawn conventional strike missions. The fundamental shift of our new OPLANS [operation plans] that we talked about a while ago. Probably the greatest change in nuclear planning in a generation, orchestrated strategic messaging with bomber assurance and deterrence missions, really for the first time. When we formed Global Strike there was no such thing really as a bomber assurance and deterrence mission – that was a new use of a bomber, a very effective use of a bomber. Planning support to the fight against ISIS, deploying bombers into the fight against ISIS. You should all be proud of what Global Strike has accomplished.
If we’re honest, the question everybody is asking today is “Why are we changing?” The answer is really the same reason for all the previous iterations I just went through. The environment changes and we change with it.
After I took command, I want you to put yourself in my shoes, but it didn’t take me long to figure out that we work and execute everything in a stove-piped organization across our 18 components. Two hours after I took command on November 3rd of last year, I met the commanders of those 18 elements. And everyone at the table had a speaking role except the three four-stars that sat to my left and right. Why didn’t they have a speaking role? Because they weren’t an operational component of U.S. Strategic Command.
But most of the other commanders around the table were their operational components. So I found myself asking the question, How come the component commanders work for those four-stars and they work for me at the same time? How come the four-stars can’t just work for me? How come I don’t have a warfighting structure where I can look at a single four-star and ask what is going on in the domain of interest? In this case, air and missiles. How come I don’t have a warfighting structure when we are the most powerful, ultimate warfighting command in the world? We are the nation’s ultimate power. How can I come into the nation’s most powerful command and not see a warfighting structure? But that’s what I found when I got here. So if it’s true, then why are we composed of functional components and not warfighting components?
So if you have an organization like that, and we did, but I also realized that integration in a command like that only happens in one place. It happens in the commander’s office. And that’s where I don’t want it to happen. I want an organization that is organized to fight and win wars. So on June 16th, we pulled the trigger and reorganized into a warfighting structure just like every other warfighting combatant command.
So when I look at our adversaries and I study them I see them doing the same thing. Organizing into warfighting components that integrate all their capabilities across the domains, together against one target, us the United States. China and Russia are combining and integrating their organizations to optimize their capabilities in all domains simultaneously.
So in order to operate effectively as a warfighting command and keep pace with the adversary, we have to normalize our command structure. The goal is to remove the stovepipes so that you are empowered to make decisions quickly and we can integrate all of our capabilities together. The landscape has changed since the early days of SAC, it’s changed multiple times. Deterrence in the 21st century presents new challenges and requires the integration of capabilities. But it’s no different than our history, no different than JSTPS or the standup of STRATCOM. We adapt, we adjust, we evolve to meet the threat.
So probably the most important reason for the reorganization is that, we also have to move fast. Because we have adversaries who are moving fast. From acquisition to development to design to budgeting to test, in my opinion the number one problem we face as a nation is we are being outpaced by our adversaries, really for the first time in my career. And we must have an organization that possesses processes that are integrated to tolerate acceptable risk and to respond more quickly to change.
Under this new structure we’ll move faster, and we’ll be threat-focused versus capability-focused. We’ve too long spent too much time focusing on what capabilities we have to have, because our capabilities will somehow be able to respond to any threat. But when our adversaries are looking at our capabilities to respond, they are developing their own capabilities to respond to that, we have to respond to our adversaries.
And we haven’t been doing that. We need to allow our people to take risks, where it makes sense to move fast and question the status quo and question projected timelines. Why can’t we go faster? We all have to have a sense of urgency, because just like the days of Curtis LeMay, we are still in a race. And I can tell you our adversaries have not forgotten it. They’ve organized, modernized, integrated, and optimized their efforts against the United States. And if you don’t think so just look at them, look at them close.
2006 Vladimir Putin said, “I’m going to modernize the entire nuclear strategic force of Russia, and I’m going to be 70 percent done by 2020.” Said it in public. You can talk to the intel guys, he may or may not make it but he will come pretty close to 70 percent. Where will we be in 2020? You know the answer, the answer is an easy number to remember, and the answer is zero. Zero is unacceptable. We have to modernize our force. We have to modernize our warfighting. We have to modernize everything that we do. The goal in any race is to always win. The goal is to stay ahead of your competitors. It is not just to compete in this business, there is no such thing as second place in the business that we have chosen, no such thing as second place. We have to win. And I fear if we don’t change our modus operandi, we’ll be outpaced. This reorganization will ensure we have the organization necessary to allow people to stay one step ahead of our adversaries.
So personally I don’t think the word deactivation is really fitting today, but that’s what we are doing, because that’s our tradition. More appropriate this would just be called an integration ceremony or a streamlining ceremony, or just a ceremony of natural progression. Because the capabilities everybody in this room brings don’t go away, they don’t go away at all. In fact, most of your jobs this afternoon will be the same as they were this morning. Most of your jobs this week will be the same as they were last week. Now you will be part of a structurally sound organization that gives me the solutions I may need when our nation calls. Like those who have gone before us, we adapt, we adjust, we evolve to meet the threat.
So, Gen. Bussiere, Tom, when we furl this flag all that means is that you start a new job. We start a new chapter in STRATCOM’s history. And I look forward to the continuing success stories of these remarkable men and women, military and civilian, the soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, civilians of U.S. Strategic Command. The most powerful warfighting command in our country.