U.S. Strategic Command

 

Speeches

AFA Global Warfare Symposium

By General Kevin P. Chilton | Los Angeles, Calif. | November 21, 2008

General Chilton: Thank you, Mike. I appreciate the kind introduction.

When I get introduced as an astronaut I'm always reminded of the first astronauts. If you remember, they were folks that were kind of hairy and could scratch their ankles without bending over. [Laughter]. So don't put too much stock in that. [Laughter]. But thanks, Mike, for the kind introduction.

Secretary Donley, it's great seeing you. I'll tell you, it's great being here in front of a sea of blue and joining you all at the Air Force Association Symposium here, and at the culmination of Air Force Week, Los Angeles, my home town. I've got to tell you, I lobbied hard for Air Force Week to come to Los Angeles over the past years, and I'm really glad it happened.

I'll tell you why I'm glad it happened. When I was a kid growing up out here, our military was much bigger. Our Air Force was much bigger. Norton Air Force Base existed, March was an active duty base, SMC at the time was called SAMSO. I remember the exit sign on the freeway. I didn't know what the heck it was, but we knew where SAMSO was. But there was a lot more military in the Southern California area, whether it be Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines.

But in spite of that, the way I ended up in the United States Air Force was literally hitching a ride to the beach one day as a kid. We ran the recall roster every morning in the summer time to see whose mom could drive. My buddy, Bill Toomey says, my mom can't drive, but my brother's home from college and he's going to Manhattan Beach if you can get over here in time. I rode my bike over there. We all piled in the Toomey-mobile. As we were riding to Manhattan Beach I said, ""Hey Bill, what's your brother's name?"" He says, ""Danny."" "Hey Danny, where do you go to college?"" He said, ""I go to the Air Force Academy."" I said, ""What's that?"" He proceeded to tell me about the Air Force Academy, and that when you graduated from there you could become a pilot in the United States Air Force, and I had wanted to be a pilot but I'd never heard of this place back in that era.

So imagine how hard it is for kids in the Southern California area to learn about the opportunities that our great Air Force, Army, Navy, Marines offer, but particularly our Air Force in my parochial opinion, offer them to advance in their life and give them the opportunity to serve our country.

So I am so glad we've had an Air Force Week here in Los Angeles. I hope it's one of many to come in the future to get the enthusiasm and reach out to this great well of surfers, like myself -- [Laughter] -- who actually would love to have the opportunity to contribute to our United States Air Force and to the defense of our country. So congratulations on that.

Thanks for the nice round of applause. Someone told me once if they applaud you before you take the microphone it's a sign of faith. If they applaud you during your speech, it's a sign of hope that it will end at some point. If they applaud you at the end it is a sign of charity. [Laughter]. I just hope you're as charitable as you are faithful at the end of my remarks this morning.

It struck me, Mike, as we were reading through the script on what STRATCOM does, you captured very well in the way you read that and presented it the confusion I had when I first took over the command a year ago. [Laughter]. I had a chance to speak at this forum last year and I think I introduced myself as the new guy at the COCOM and I'd get back to you later when I figured out what it was I was supposed to be doing. And that's really how I came into the job, as I do any job. I first ask, what is it that I'm supposed to do? What's my job? Where is it written down?

We have this thing called the Unified Command Plan that tells us what we're supposed to do as COCOMs, so I took that out and read it. As you articulated, Mike, we have multiple mission areas. More than I could get my small mind around and capture. I'm a firm believer in life, if everything is important in your life then nothing is important, so you've got to prioritize, you've got to focus what you're doing. And so as I came into U.S. Strategic Command I said let's look at this broad breadth of missions that Mike described in the introduction and figure out what's most important? What are our priorities? And literally put overwhelming firepower -- not that everything isn't important, but how do you prioritize? These are documents signed by the President that says this is what you've got to go do. Everything in that document is very important to me.

The way I tried to get my head around it was looking at the areas of missile defense, ISR, weapons of mass destruction and IO. As I looked at those mission sets, what struck me right away is we had no forces assigned to conduct operations in those areas. I had no three-star command and control elements like a CAOC, if you will, to give commander's intent to, and give orders promulgated down to the folks in the field to do things.

In missile defense our job is to try to figure out how to get this global system as it grows, and it is growing and maturing, how we get it to support not only NORTHCOM, but regional combatant commanders, deployed forces forward, and try to bring that concept of operations together.

In the ISR area in STRATCOM, we don't own a single ISR platform that I command and control every day. So what we do, because we have a global focus on needs around the world, is we provide recommendations to the Secretary of Defense on how best to use those high demand/low density assets.

Weapons of mass destruction, our job is to try to synchronize planning across the regional combatant commanders so that we can approach it from a global perspective and not get myopic as we think about combating weapons of mass destruction, which the terrorists can easily move across artificial lines on the earth at their will.

In the information operations area, we really do a lot of work in support of just about everybody around the world in the regional combatant commands as well as STRATCOM.

But there are three areas where we actually have forces assigned, where we have command and control elements, where I have three-star general officers who run our command and control centers and promulgate orders daily to the folks that work for him; have a series of task forces who own forces that report to U.S. Strategic Command. And this is where I decided we needed to increase our focus was in these three lines of operations -- cyberspace, space, and global strike in the form of certainly nuclear deterrence.

The other thing I wanted to understand, see, because of my time at NASA I didn't have the opportunity to not read all the books you didn't read at PME that General Kehler talked about earlier. [Laughter]. So I recognized this as a fundamental hole in my education. So I stepped back and said what is it that COCOMs do that's different than being the Air Force Space Command commander? I didn't change rank, but I got a new job with a new focus.

COCOMs, what they do, the regional guys in particular, is they mostly plan. They war plan. They are the execution arm of our warfighting elements in time of crisis. So they build plans on how we're going to fight. They work on those and they have to plan not only with their parent service, but with their joint team to bring together all the elements of national military power together to execute that plan in time of crisis. They exercise those plans routinely and practice and test them and make sure they're ready to operate them. And in the regional combatant commanders' case, they spend quite a bit of time going out and engaging with international countries, other countries in their region to build partnerships, to build confidence, to avoid war. To make sure if you have to go to a fight you don't go by yourself, but you go with friends that you can interoperate with.

At STRATCOM, we do very much the same things, but on a global basis. In fact if you think about our mission areas, they're pretty agnostic to any line you draw on a map to divide up regions of the world, and in some cases they're agnostic to the geography of the planet -- oceans and continents. When you think about space and cyberspace, it just doesn't matter much.

So we plan to fight. We have plans in each of those domains. We have a joint team that is focused in space, cyberspace, and nuclear deterrence. We exercise and test those plans.

From a regional perspective we're not constrained. As I mentioned, we are global in nature and I think we are challenged too, and this is an area we need to improve our work in, to engage in our mission areas. Nobody knows more or cares more about space than the space guys; cyberspace than the cyberspace guys. So having conversations with international space-faring nations, having conversations with nuclear armed nations I think is an important role for U.S. Strategic Command.

There's something else, though, that I think separates U.S. Strategic Command from most other combatant commanders, not all. That is that we operate in these three domains every day. We're not just planning for a bad day, we are in the fight in these three domains every day. So our plans cannot be something that sit on the shelf to get ready to execute. We are executing those plans and operations every day and have branches and sequels for a bad day, if you will.

The last thing I would say about our command that's really important that I love, is the fact that 99.99 percent of the time we are going to be in support of somebody else. That's a good thing to be. I like the opportunity that we can support PACOM tomorrow; we can support CENTCOM today; we can support them both simultaneously; we can support TRANSCOM; we can support whoever needs support and bring integrated, and this is important, integrated space, cyberspace and global strike capability to the fight to support them with their war plans in time of crisis.

So if I could, I'd like to spend just a minute on those three lines of operations, beginning with global strike, and in particular nuclear deterrence.

When I think about the nuclear mission I'm reminded of a story of Winston Churchill. He received a telegram, I was told, once upon a time announcing the death of his mother-in-law. And Winston Churchill wrote a telegram back to the sender that said, ""Embalm. Stop. Cremate. Stop. Bury at Sea. Stop. Take no chances."" [Laughter]. That's the way I feel about the mission of dealing with nuclear weapons for the defense of the United States of America. We can take no chances when we think about this mission set.

I've described it often with my team. We juggle seven balls for our mission areas. One of them's crystal. The rest are rubber, they'll bounce if we drop them, we'll figure out how to pick them back up and start juggling again. The nuclear ball will not bounce. It will shatter. And we cannot afford to do that. It is an incredibly important mission for us.

Who do we support with this mission? Primarily NORTHCOM, defense of the United States of America. But this nuclear umbrella that we have is broader than that. It is also in place to support our allies, our closest friends around the world, and that is a very very important concept. One that continues to support non-proliferation of nuclear weapons around the world.

If ever our closest friends and allies come to doubt either our word or our capability to support them with our nuclear umbrella, many of them have the technology to build their own weapons. That's proliferation, and that's a world we don't want to live in.

Our responsibility is not only to America, it's to the world.

Operate? You betcha we operate our nuclear forces every day. Readiness is a mission. Deterrence is a mission, but is founded not only on a capability that's recognized by the adversary, but a readiness and a credible capability of the people who operate those systems.

Capable systems, capable people, ready, and of course the will to use them which is provided by our political leadership.

When I look at the services' support to this mission area I think when it comes to platforms we have got tremendous support. The Navy is already starting to work on the requirements and design of a follow-on to the Trident submarine system that's going to become available to us 20 or 30 years from now. We're working that.

The Air Force has put a lot of resources into sustaining the Minuteman III fleet. I echo General Kehler's remarks, now is the time to be thinking about what to follow. The next generation bomber. The Air Force is committed to make it a nuclear capable weapon. They've improved the B-52 capability. They continue to improve the B-2 capability.

When I look at my service components in this mission area, I could not be happier with the focus and attention they are putting on this mission set, particularly in the delivery platform, but I offer a little bit of criticism here.

We wouldn't think about just building an F-35 or an F-22 or a B-2 without thinking very carefully about the weapons we were going to put in them. We spend a lot of time, in fact, thinking about improvements to MARK-82s, MARK-84s, JDAMs, laser-guided bombs. We scream loudly about what it is we need those weapons to be able to do, how they need to integrate with the delivery platform, how they are the central part of the kill chain, the ultimate end part of the kill chain.

A nuclear deterrent is no good with just missiles, submarines and bombers. You need nuclear weapons. Now, this is an easy one for people to stand up and argue for, particularly if you're in the services because the Department of Energy pays the bill. That's an important point.

But leadership in the services, leadership in the Department of Defense and leadership at STRATCOM is needed today, now more than ever, when we look at our nuclear weapons inventory and stockpile. We are living today off the largesse of an industrial base and a concept that was developed to support the Cold War which is many years in the rear view mirror right now. And if we're going to have a viable nuclear deterrent for this nation in the future, now is the time for us to start addressing the issues with what are we going to have for the nuclear weapons to put on top of these delivery platforms in the future? There's two parts to this.

We need an industrial base that can support the sustainment of these weapons, which is going to require a modernization of the current stockpile; and we're going to need modernized weapons. It's time to be standing up loudly and talking about this and bringing this into the public debate. I'm encouraged that we're going to see this start to happen in the coming year, because that is the time to have it. We need to move out in this particular area.

Within STRATCOM our focus on this mission area has increased significantly in the past year. I really appreciate the Air Force's support to help me add a new flag officer position and man that in the coming year. We'll have a dedicated one-star who pays complete attention to the nuclear enterprise working in the J3 for us.

We've also increased our focus on the IG shop. When I got to STRATCOM I think there were two people in there and we hadn't been out there observing an inspection in five years. We now ride on every submarine, we go to every ICBM base, and we go to every bomber base for every NSI out there. They report directly back to me on what they see, on how good the inspection was conducted, in their opinion, the quality of the inspection and the readiness of the force out there. It just gives me another insight into how ready we are to do this mission.

I'm a bit from Missouri, even though I was born in LA. I'm a "show me" kind of guy. If you ask me how you know that your forces are ready to do the mission I don't want to say, "well, because they've reported they're ready," – I want to test them. I want to know they can do it through exercise and training. So we've taken a new cut on Global Thunder, one of our major exercise programs in U.S. Strategic Command. It's no longer going to be a command post exercise. It's going to be an FTX exercise. We're going to actually generate forces and they demonstrate they can do the mission as they used to do during the Cold War on a regular basis.

The Air Force has stepped out in a big way in this area. I cannot compliment General Elder enough for his leadership in 8th Air Force and how he has gotten them ready to participate in Global Thunder this year. We had to slip it to June of next year because of some world situations, but I'm very confident that the Air Force is ready to step up and show me they can do this mission as they always have in the past.

Shifting to space operations, another area where really we're in the support role. We support all the combatant commanders. And in fact we support more than that. We support society writ large. I don't have to talk long and loud about that with this audience.

The space capability that we bring, particularly in our GPS satellite constellation, is absolutely essential to our society and our economy today. We operate in Strategic Command critical missile warning satellites that are absolutely essential to our nuclear deterrent mission, but also essential to the warfighters forward in the theater, who need that type of warning to tip and cue their PAC-3s and their defenses when they're forward.

Our global communications networks through our satellite constellations are not only essential to today's command and control elements, but if you look at our global war on terrorism and how we're fighting that and how we're utilizing UAVs to the ISR portion of that fight, it's absolutely essential to have the global communication networks in place.

And what we do to broadly defend, anticipate and prepare to counter attacks against this domain in the space situational awareness area is fundamental and underlines everything we do in the space domain.

We always ask the question of ourselves, can you imagine a world without space supporting the warfighter today? My wife Cathy and I had a chance to go visit our allies the French and the Germans a bit this year to talk about space situational awareness and surveillance and partnerships. We had a weekend off and we spent that weekend, actually it was the 4th of July, we spent the 4th of July on Utah Beach on the bluffs over Normandy, overlooking Omaha Beach, and Pointe du Hoc at the cemetery there. I can imagine war without space. Watch the first 30 minutes of ""Saving Private Ryan"". That's war without space.

A little bit of history of 8th Air Force. Twenty-five thousand men killed in a year and a half. That's war without space. I can imagine it. It's not something we want to go back to, I assure you.

Space has become important to us. We understand that. Yet we hesitate to step up and treat the acquisition of those satellite systems I just mentioned with the seriousness that I think they deserve.

We have a history of managing those constellations to the ragged edge. What I'll call gap management. Well, if everything goes just right, General Chilton, we won't have a gap in your DSP or your SBIRS warning satellite constellation. If everything goes just right we won't have a gap in your MILSATCOM constellation. I don't know about you, but I used to be in the rocket launching business, and in fact in the rocket riding business, and you hold your breath on every launch. [Laughter]. For a lot of reasons. I don't want to be holding my breath on a launch for a critical capability for the United States warfighting approach.

We've made a lot of investments here, folks, in my view when it comes to these critical space assets. We need to be thinking a little more broadly and deeply in that regard. If you need four, why not put up five? We cannot bet on 100 percent launch success in the future. I'm awful proud of what we've done in the launch business over the last several years since the late 1990s, but we all know who have been in the business it's coming again. The day when one of those critical birds doesn't make it to orbit. We ought to have some robustness in our architecture, a robustness in the way we think about acquiring the systems as we move forward.

In this domain of space, in this line of operation, I mentioned that we classically support, and that's true. But we had I think a historic moment this past year where, in the space business anyway, we were supported. U.S. Strategic Command was supported. We were declared the supported combatant command by the Secretary of Defense and boy, did we get some support. Over 16 different agencies, interagency partners, our services, other combatant commands pitched in to help us in Operation Burnt Frost. A truly historic operation that started on a December day and culminated three months later. A capability that we didn't know we had at the time, and was brought together under the leadership of some great folks at Strategic Command and some great partners across the interagency.

I'll tell you, I couldn't be more proud of the U.S. Strategic Command's success in Operation Burnt Frost in eliminating the risk of that hydrazine tank to the populace of the earth with the spectacular success demonstrated in February of last year.

Let's move into the line of operation that we call cyberspace. Is that a support line for us? You bet. Just like space. Is it global in nature? You bet. Just like space. Do we operate in it every day? You bet. Just like space. In fact what we're tasked to do is to operate, defend, prepare to attack, and on order attack through this domain.

I think there's a tendency to mystify this domain, and I'm sure I'm part of that problem. I'm so technically unsavvy, I'm the guy who on occasion at home calls out to my 14-year-old daughter to come turn the television set on for her dad, please. I can't figure it out. They've got some game on there or something. But for some of us older folks this idea of the internet and the GIG and all that is maybe a little less comfortable than some of the younger generation coming up.

But when I think about it from a warfighting perspective, to me it's pretty straightforward. It's another domain. It's a warfighting domain akin to air, land, sea and space. Okay? We can create effects in this domain.

Think about air power. What is creating effects in the air domain? It's called an air-to-air kill. We shoot down an adversary's aircraft. We can create effects through this domain. What is that in air power? You take off, you fly, you drop a bomb on a land domain and create an effect there.

We can do the same things in cyberspace. Will we be attacked in cyberspace? Yes. Do we have to defend cyberspace? Yes. Can we attack through cyberspace? Yes. We need to demystify this concept. What's unique about cyberspace? There are some unique features. Things happen there at nearly the speed of light. You want to hit a target or you want to defend something, you push a button, it's going to happen pretty quickly.

The other thing that's unique about it is, unlike the other domains which were created a long time ago, we made this one. We built it. It's not stagnant. It's changing every day. So the expertise that knows how to build, change, adjust fire on this domain is valuable to us. Absolutely valuable to us as we think about operations in cyberspace. It demands folks who know how to build and operate cyberspace. It demands an intelligence focus that I would argue is probably more important in this domain than many other domains.

Are we dependent on cyberspace in the military? Yes. We all know that in this room. Are we in denial about that dependency? Yes. We are. I liken this back to the days when I was flying F-15s with General Deptula and General Kresky over in Okinawa. We would go down to the Philippines to engagements down there, and they would launch these aggressor aircrafts with jammer pods on board and they would start jamming our UHF radios. We'd sit there for a while and go, we can't talk to each other, this isn't any fun, so you know how we'd fix that? We'd say "stop buzzer, cease buzzer." That made them stop jamming. You could do that if you thought it was a safety situation. We would turn the jammers off and we'd get back to fighting.

It took us a while to realize, guess what, this is a real threat. We're going to have to develop tactics, techniques and procedures first, and then technology, to allow us to operate in a comm-jamming environment.

The same thing in cyberspace. We need to be thinking about that right now, and then we need to go out and exercise it and plan for it, because I'm convinced the hardest thing we're going to have to do in this domain is keep the domain operating when we're under attack. You're not going to be able to say, "Cease buzzer. Stop the jamming, please." We're going to have to continue to fight.

We don't do it in any other domain. We figure out how to MOPP up under chem attack and continue to load bombs on airplanes and continue to launch aircraft and get the job done. We don't just go in the bunker and wait. We figure out how to operate and fight through. And we're going to have to do that in the cyber domain as we look forward. I think it's going to be the hardest thing we're going to have to do.

So what do we do in this domain? We need to recognize it, and I think this is a cultural thing, but at least we need to recognize that this is a warfighting domain. The GIG is a weapon system and it deserves to be treated like one, with configuration control and discipline. It needs command and control and it needs forces that are organized, trained and equipped to do the mission sets of operate, defend, prepare to attack and attack. And that isn't just technological folks. It's people who think about strategy, planning, current ops and assessment. The same thing which you need in any other domain, in any other warfighting element that supports that domain.

Lastly, I firmly believe that this is COCOM business. Fighting in this domain is COCOM business. If we're going to effectively integrate cyberspace into the fight to support other operations it needs to be done from the combatant commander's perspective.

At STRATCOM as we look at these three lines of operations we fully recognize that we can't bring to the fight the full effect and the full capability of these if we don't figure out a way to integrate them. For a regional combatant commander he's challenged with integrating air, land and sea classically. And he does that by having a JFACC, a JFLCC and a JFMCC, his command and control warfighter elements, and he works hard through his J3 to integrate -- to build a plan that integrates those great combat powers in those great domains.

In STRATCOM we have started to bring that integration focus back up into the J3 in our headquarters so that we can help bring integrated air, space and global strike capability to the fight. Again, it is not something new. It is not something special. It is warfighting fundamentals.

In the intelligence area of U.S. Strategic Command when you look at our global mission set, the commander needs a global view. He needs a JIOC like every other regional combatant commander that's looking at the world situation, not a particular region only. He's got to look at the entire set. So we're increasing our focus in the J2 area at U.S. Strategic Command.

Lastly, as I've already mentioned, to realize the combat power that we can bring to the fight we need to continue to train and exercise this capability at the same time we are operating and fighting every day in these three lines of operation.

If I haven't hit on it hard enough, I think you can appreciate that my major theme this past year has been to increase our operational focus of U.S. Strategic Command, particularly along the three main lines of operation. We recognize that the United States is a nation at war today, and I'm proud that U.S. Strategic Command is in that fight in support of the global war on terror. But we also realize that we have another big mission that we do day in and day out, and that is our deterrence mission – and the underlying foundation of that is our nuclear power and our nuclear forces.

It's important day to day what we do, and we are proud of what we do today. When you think about today and this time and this date in history and where we are in the United States of America, we are going into a period of time that we do every four years. Transition. Transition of administration leadership. Once again, America demonstrated the miracle of Philadelphia earlier this month as we held an election that because of our freedom allows every citizen of legal age to come in and cast their vote for the administration they would like to lead us for the next four years. We did it peacefully. And I tell you folks, there are people around the world who scratch their head every day and wonder how it is we do it. It's something we take for granted. I'm proud of that. I'm proud of STRATCOM's role in enabling that to continue to happen.

But in every transition there comes risk. It's not the risk of who gets elected, it's just a risk of change. And during that time period, how our adversaries around the world look at our vulnerability.

History has taught us a few things here. In 1961 President Kennedy inherited the Bay of Pigs in the first year of his administration. He met with Khrushchev and out of that meeting came, eventually, in later years, the Cuban missile crisis, the Berlin Wall. The adversary was looking for a chink in the armor. Whether they found one or not is debatable, but they acted.

In 1993, in President Clinton's first year, we suffered the World Trade Center bombing – the first World Trade Center bombing – and Mogadishu. It was only years later that we realized that al-Qaida was behind both of these activities, but in the very first year al-Qaida looked for an opportunity to leverage on the transition of leadership in the Department of Defense and in the administration.

Of course in 2001, the first year of the Bush administration, we had 9/11.

Now this may be all coincidence. I don't think so. Nor are our Chairman or our Secretary of Defense willing to accept that it's pure coincidence, and there's an increased focus in the Department of Defense like I have not seen -- and I was around for the last transition -- before on making sure we are ready and we are focused and we are doing everything we can to facilitate the transition of the new administration, and at the same time send signals to our potential adversaries that we are ready and you better not step out of line.

That's an important mission for U.S. STRATCOM to be a member of and participate in and we're going to be ready and active participants in it.

November, as we think about this day and this month, was declared Warrior Care Month by our Department of Defense. So as we think about warfighting, we think about operations, we think about transition, there's something else we also need to think about and that is our veterans. Cathy and I went and visited a veterans home on the 11th and had a chance to visit with some great vets from World War II and Korea and some from Vietnam who served our nation well. But we have some great vets coming home today and amongst us today who are coming back wounded and injured from wars abroad, and we have opportunities to take care of them today. And just as importantly, in my mind, to take care of their families.

As we approach Thanksgiving this coming week, I know you all are being thankful for those veterans and for their families. But I also want to be thankful for you wearing the uniform and wearing the civilian attire in service of our country. And I'll be thankful for our STRATCOM vets who today are in the fight in space, in cyberspace, and stand the nuclear watch and deterrent watch in support of that important deterrence that allows us and will allow us this coming week to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner with our family that are at home or wherever we are, and the freedoms and society that we work very hard to defend every day.

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much. AFA, thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to join you today and I look forward to your questions.

[Applause].

Moderator: Thank you, General Chilton. I've already looked at the top card and the question was, how do I get promoted to four star general and not do PME? [Laughter].

General Chilton: I want to correct the record on that.

Moderator: I want to tell you, I walked into General Chilton's office at 2100 one night and he's a two star select and he's doing Air War College by correspondence, so he really did PME. Is that --

General Chilton: When I graduated Air War College by correspondence I got a note from the Commander at Maxwell that said, I think you're the first one star to have done this. But I did, and I'll make a plug for PME. When I was a wing commander at Beale, had a lot of great young folks working for me that were getting passed over. I said what's going on here? I went down and found out they weren't doing their PME. They were majors and they weren't doing their PME. I said I've got this figured out. Start doing your PME. Goldarnit, unfortunately we had taught these guys how to read and one of them got a hold of my bio and found out I had not been to Air War College nor had I done Air Force PME for War College. Guess what happened? The next time I got up and started talking about how important PME was, I got the, well you didn't do it. You got promoted to colonel. Yeah. I took that to heart and I went down and signed up at the education office the next day, and it took me two years to get through it, but I got through it. I'll tell you what, I learned a lot and I read all the books because I didn't have any other way to learn it. So that's my plug for PME.

Moderator: You're better than General Deptula is in reading the books. [Laughter].

General Chilton: He read all the books that I read. [Laughter].

Moderator: The first question I'll take the priority of the Chair to ask. You mentioned the new administration. There's already talk in the press about a nuclear posture review. Is it time to consider something broader, more aligned in the STRATCOM mission, not just a nuclear posture review but more of a strategic review that's larger than just nuclear weapons? That includes cyber, that includes space, that includes some of the other elements?

General Chilton: First of all, I think the Nuclear Posture Review is essential. The question is, is it sufficient. It is essential. A few thoughts on this. We're working this internal to STRATCOM, thinking a lot about this because this requires a lot of thought. I would commend the members of the United States Air Force to think a lot about this.

The formula for deterrence hasn't changed. It really hasn't. But how we want to apply that formula, who we want to apply it against, and what it will take to apply it against the potential adversary is what has changed, and it will change from a bi-polar world when it was just the Soviet Union to now a multi-polar series of threats. This is hard stuff to think through. It takes study and thought and debate.

What I'm afraid of is that, well I'm not afraid of this, I just want to make sure we are not on a numbers-driven strategy as opposed to a strategy that drives numbers. And whether that numbers is platforms or weapons, et cetera. If we've got it the other way around we need to get the cart back in front of the horse and think about what our strategy is. What our policy is, what our strategy is, which way we want to go, and that will lead us to the right force structure to conduct the nuclear deterrent mission.

Deterrence broadly, to leverage off your question, Mike, our military strength, our military power, hasn't changed much over the last ten years, yet over the last ten years that didn't stop the North Koreans from developing and exploding a nuclear weapon, did it? Is that in the best interests of the United States? No. Do you think Iran is off doing the same thing? Yes. Is that in the best interests of the United States? No. Are they deterred by our nuclear might? No.

So how do you think about deterring or dissuading an adversary, potential adversary like that? This is I think what you're talking about. There's a more nuanced approach we need to take about this. But even as we think about those things, you don't start by taking away the foundation. The foundation is our nuclear deterrent. That does not go away. We need to think about better ways to bring in all of government, all elements of national power to bear in a coordinated fashion to address other threats or other critical national interests when we're talking about deterrence, and we do need some more thought on that.

Moderator: The next question is on the cyber side. We had a previous speaker yesterday talk about cyber and she said there's a lot to do. There's a lot to do in terms of policies, national policies, organization, responsibilities, requirements, doctrine, and of course the forces assigned to response. So on an evaluation scale where would you put us in terms of making progress in those areas, and what should we work on next?

General Chilton: We are making progress, but where are we? We're in the 1920s if you want to compare air power. We're soloing on here. It's going to go a lot faster than between 1903 and 1947, the time compression of how fast we have to learn and how fast we are going to have to react to this is going to be extremely narrowed down, but we are in the early stages here.

I'll tell you one thing, and I mentioned it in my remarks, we need forces -- organized, trained and equipped forces to do some of our missions. I think the authorities have probably matured pretty well along the ways. I'm not sure we are exercising those authorities enough in U.S. Strategic Command and that's something we're going to pay attention to in the future.

When I think about defense of our networks, we know our networks are under attack all the time. We see millions of hits on our networks every day. We have seen and read reports about material being exploited out of our networks. It's espionage essentially. So we need, in my opinion – and one of our main focus areas this year in the command will be – to work that problem really hard and advance the ball on it.

So we're moving on but we don't have the luxury of time, just as we don't have the luxury of – as we anticipate warfare in the future – we don't have the luxury of 1939 and having four years to build up an air force to win that war. The same thing is even more compressed in this domain.

Moderator: As the President of an association that has been attacked three times in the last year from IPO addresses in China, I understand that answer perfectly.

General Chilton: I told you to stay off Facebook, and you wouldn't listen to me. [Laughter].

Moderator: YouTube and Facebook.

The last question is all we have time for and that's on Russia. You mentioned the need for military to military interaction with various countries around the world. In the past several, six months let's say, Russia's presented a more muscular stance internationally. They're challenging our air defenses at NORAD and Alaska, attacking Georgia, et cetera, et cetera.

How much interaction have you had with your Russian counterparts and what would you urge going forward?

General Chilton: None is the answer, and I think that's a shortcoming on my part. Some of it was driven by world events. Some of it's driven by their interest to engage as well. Lack thereof. But I'm sure General Craddock in EUCOM has an engagement plan that he executes with Russia. But this is again another area, as I look forward in the coming year for STRATCOM, where we've gotten in some language in draft guidance that says STRATCOM has a role in engaging in these key lines of operation internationally. There is an outstanding invitation to my Russian counterpart to come that has not been answered. But we're not going to be deterred by that and we're going to push up our engagement in that area.

We're also looking to another venue and opportunity I think for our three lines of operations to enhance our discussions with the international community in those lines. We'll see it start to happen this coming year. Besides our space symposium in the fall we're going to have a cyberspace symposium at STRATCOM, we'll be partnered in that effort in April. What I would really like to have is not a symposium, but a series of seminars next summer that focuses on this concept of deterrence and what we need to be thinking about as we move forward. So bringing great minds and great needs and requirements and great products to Omaha, to STRATCOM to talk about cyberspace, deterrence, and space on a regular basis, and opening up and encouraging international participation on that I think will be key to starting these dialogues that I think we're lacking in today.

Moderator: General Chilton, on behalf of all of us in this room and the Air Force Association I want to thank you for your time. A great presentation.

General Chilton: My pleasure.

[Applause].