U.S. Strategic Command

 

Speeches

Air Force Association, National Defense Industrial Association and Reserve Officers Association Capitol Hill Forum on "The Strategic Challenges Facing the U.S.: The Roadmap Ahead."

By Admiral Cecil D. Haney | Washington, D.C. | June 25, 2014

MR. PETER HUESSY: Good morning. On behalf of NDIA and AFA and ROA, I'd like to welcome you to this in the next of our series of seminars on nuclear deterrence, arms control, missile defense and defense policy. I want to remind you that on Friday Larry Welch will be speaking. And then General Wilson will be speaking, not here but at the AFA headquarters on the 24th. We will then take a break for the Fourth of July recess.

I want to remind you, on the 8th of July Steve Pifer from Brookings and Rebecca Heinrichs from the American Enterprise Institute will be having a discussion on EPAA in Europe and future arms control with the Russians, and how that fits with strategic modernization. And also on the 11th we have our new Space Power for the Warfighter series, which we will be having either here or at that AFA headquarters. I'll let you know. But on the morning of the 11th we have our friend Uzi Rubin from Israel, who will talk about missile defense and missile threats in the Middle East.

I want to thank our friends from the embassies of Russia, Great Britain and Austria who are here today joining us. I also want to thank our military guests and give a vote of thanks to the admiral's staff from both here in D.C. and in Omaha for the wonderful work and cooperation they've shown with us in putting this together. I'm honored to have Admiral Cecil Haney here for his first breakfast seminar speech. We have had every STRAT commander and SAC commander since 1983 here. Many of you may know that the Admiral is a native of Washington, D.C. As he told us, he grew up about 13 blocks from the club here. He went to the Naval Academy and graduated in 1978. He was assigned to the USS John C. Calhoun, the Frank Cable, the Hyman Rickover, USS Ashville and Submarine Squadron 8. And he culminated in the command of the USS Honolulu.

His shore duties included Administrative Assistant for Enlisted Affairs at the Naval Reactors, Congressional Appropriations Liaison Officer for the Secretary of Defense, Deputy Chief of Staff of Plans, Policy and Requirements for the U.S. Pacific Fleet, and Director of Submarine Warfare Division, N87, and the Director of Naval Warfare Integration Group, as well as the Deputy Commander of U.S. Strategic Command. And prior to this assignment, he was the Commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

He holds a Master's degree in engineering, acoustics and systems technology from the Naval Post-graduate School, and a Master's degree in national security strategy from my old haunting place, the National Defense University. Admiral, on behalf of our sponsors, our guests and AFA, ROA and NDIA, I want to thank you for taking the time out of your very busy schedule to come and talk to us here about these very, very important issues. Would you give a warm welcome to the Commander of U.S. Strategic Command, Admiral Haney?

(Applause).

ADM. HANEY: Well, good morning. Peter, thanks for that kind introduction and for allowing over the span of I think a week, two of us in a Navy uniform to show up here to talk about matters. Vice Admiral Terry Benedict was here very recently. But I can't thank you enough for hosting these kinds of events. And just thinking about having these breakfast seminars on one of my favorite topics, strategic deterrence and issues that are facing not only our military but our nation at large, it's a pleasure to join you here on behalf of the team I lead, those soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and civilians, that work for or at U.S. Strategic Command. So greetings from the heartland of the United States of America.

It's great to be here representing my command that's located just south of Omaha, Nebraska, home of the College World Series, I might add, which is happening now. I'm not sure how many folks were up to see how long the game between TCU and Virginia was here recently, but it went into many, many innings. Well I attended one of those games this past weekend and I can tell you that you see a lot of significant planning, strategy and execution at play there at the College World Series.

Well seriously, as the Commander of U.S. Strategic Command, I thought I would discuss one, how I see the strategic environment; two, my missions and priorities, and I will focus significantly on sustainment, maintenance and modernization of our strategic deterrent; and finally, my concerns and approaches regarding our strategic nuclear deterrent. As I look around, there are so many familiar faces in the audience today. Many of you who have either been with me on this journey in some capacity -- and I appreciate that -- but just watch how many stories you tell about me here at this august body of Brainiacs.

Well, I'm sure that many here in this audience would agree with me today that our nation is dealing with a global strategic environment that is complex, dynamic and perhaps more-so than at any time in our history. Advances in state/non-state military capabilities continue across the air, sea, land and space domains, as well as in cyber-space. The space domain is becoming ever more congested, contested and competitive.

Worldwide cyber-threats are growing in scale and in sophistication. Nuclear powers are investing long-term in wide-ranging military modernization programs. Proliferation of weapons and nuclear technologies continues. Weapons of mass destruction capability delivery technologies are maturing and becoming more readily available. No region of the world is immune from potential chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear risk.

Terrorist threats remain a source of significant ambiguity, and the threat of home-grown violent extremists remains a concern. Our world today is characterized by violent extremist organizations, significant regional unrest, protracted conflicts, budgetary stresses, competition for natural resources, and the transition and diffusion of power among global and regional actors. To borrow from the words of Chairman General Dempsey, no matter how much we may wish it, the world is not getting safer.

We have seen instability and unrest around the globe: Syria, Libya, Iraq, Mali, Sudan, Nigeria, and the list goes on. Ukraine if far from settled. States and non-state actors alike have access to capabilities previously limited to only state actors with significant resources. While strategic attack against the United States remains remote, we must remain vigilant and capable to address the strategic threats in the current security environment with effective capabilities, with an effort that includes our whole of government, and of course our allies and partners.

I am sure most of you are monitoring the situation, for example, with respect to Russia and Ukraine following, of course, the Crimea crisis. In light of increasing tensions, Russia has also been busy exercising and demonstrating its strategic capabilities, reaping the benefits of decades of modernization. Just recently on the 8th of May, for example, Russia conducted a major strategic forces exercise involving significant nuclear forces and associated command and control in just six months since the last one back in October. Both exercises were aired on YouTube, albeit in Russian, and showed President Putin ordering his commanders into action.

Additionally, we have seen significant Russian strategic aircraft deployments in the vicinity of places like Japan, Korea and even our West Coast. As President Putin has articulated, Russia continues to modernize its strategic capabilities across all legs of its triad. And open sources recently cited the sea trials of its latest SSBN, the testing of its newest air-launched cruise missile, and modernization of its intercontinental ballistic force to include its mobile capability in that area. The good news is that Russia continues, though, to follow the New START Treaty, which has associated notifications and access, important trust measures for both of our nations.

As expected, we pay close attention to China, given its economic growth and associated improvements in military capabilities, including nuclear weapons, space and cyber-space, as they work to solidify their position in the world. For example, they are modernizing their strategic forces to include fielding more survivable road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missiles, enhancing their silo-based ICBMs, as well as developing a new ballistic missile submarine and the associated strategic missiles for that platform. They are continuing to develop space capabilities.

As you know, the Chinese are developing multi-dimensional space capabilities, and fortunately haven't hit anything since 2007 when they launched that anti-satellite weapon hitting a satellite and leaving a tremendous amount of debris in low earth orbit spinning close to the world's precious space assets, including the International Space Station. Finally, China continues to conduct exploitation of computer networks for commercial advantage while securing their economic interests around the globe. Many of these details were recently provided in the DoD report to Congress, which is available to you on the Internet. But given this audience, you probably have already read that report cover to cover.

North Korea continues to maintain a threatening posture while working to develop strategic capabilities to preserve Kim Jong-un's dynasty. They have advanced their nuclear capabilities and produce enough fissile material for several weapons. They are pursuing long-range ballistic missiles and are developing offensive cyber capabilities, using these emerging strategic capabilities for both internal and external leverage.

Time will tell with respect to the negotiations with Iran, but it's no secret of their interest to have nuclear weapons capabilities. They are pursuing a space launch vehicle, which could serve as a test-bed for developing intercontinental ballistic missile technologies. And like North Korea, they are also working hard to develop their cyber capabilities.

One can't have a nuclear weapons discussion without also mentioning India and Pakistan. India is developing two intercontinental ballistic missile systems, extending New Delhi's missile force range, while continuing the development of their ballistic missile submarine and submarine-launched ballistic missiles, which have recently been in the news. Pakistan continues to develop and upgrade their nuclear delivery systems for a full range of platforms, including both ballistic and cruise missiles.

So this paints a picture of the strategic environment, but it doesn't include other challenges to the global security environment that further stress our joint military forces. I've already mentioned some of these, such as Syria, Libya, and several African nations including the endless list of barbaric atrocities by terrorist organizations such as Boko Haram. In April al-Qaeda leaders held an open air meeting in Yemen, reminding us of their radical beliefs.

And we're seeing the impact of years of political division in Thailand, a country now under martial law, and general elections are likely to be held off for at least another year. Even now the world is watching as the situation in Iraq is unfolding. And, of course, I would be remiss if I didn't talk about our fiscal environment.

I do remind my team today our national debt is more than $17.5 trillion. And, of course, reducing our debt and improving our economy are also critical to our national security. Prioritizing resources to meet our goals requires a thoughtful assessment of national priorities in the context of fiscal realities.

Today's budget environment remains a concern as we look to sustain and modernize our military forces, including our strategic capabilities. While the passage of the two year Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013, and the 2014 omnibus appropriations, provided us with some relief, sequestration is and will continue to have significant impacts on our strategic capabilities now and into the future, critical to U.S. Strategic Command as we provide unique and foundational capabilities to the defense of our nation.

While we are taking steps to prepare for the future, this creates significant uncertainty and will put a squeeze on both our readiness and, of course, our incredibly talented people. While our workforce is resilient, they still recall the combined effects of a hiring freeze, furloughs and other force reduction measures that continue to stress the human element of U.S. Strategic Command capabilities. We continue to work with Congress and commit to continuing working closely to ensure our nation's strategic requirements are understood.

Against this dynamic and uncertain backdrop, U.S. Strategic Command's mission is to partner with our other combatant commands to deter and detect strategic attack against the United States of America and our allies, and to defeat those attacks if deterrence fails by providing the president of the United States options. Your Strategic Command provides an array of global strategic capabilities to the joint force through the nine assigned unified command plan missions, including: strategic deterrence, space operations, cyber space operations, joint electronic warfare, global strike, missile defense, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, combating weapons of mass destruction, and analysis and targeting.

These assigned missions are strategic in nature, global in scope and intertwined with capabilities of our joint military forces in the interagency and the whole of government. This requires increased linkages and synergies at all levels to bring integrated capabilities to bear through synchronized planning, simultaneous execution of plans, and coherent strategic communications. Your Strategic Command manages this diverse and challenging activity by actively executing a tailored deterrence and assurance campaign plan, and by executing my command priorities.

They include: providing a safe, secure and effective and credible nuclear deterrent force; partnering with other combatant commands, the inter-agency and our allies and partners to reduce uncertainty in the strategic and security environments, and of course win today; to address the challenges in space and to build cyber-space capability and capacity; and to prepare for uncertainty. While I'd love to cover each one of these today, I will focus on the necessity of sustaining and modernizing our strategic nuclear deterrent. I would especially appreciate an opportunity to dig deeper into space and cyber-space, but given the amount of time I will not, especially since these two get a lot of attention in other dialogues and forums today.

Particularly, I'll ask an audience, even one like this one, what makes up the strategic nuclear deterrent capability this country relies on? Frequently I get the short answer, that it involves simply the triad: ICBMs, submarines, bombers. Ninety percent of the time the conversation stops there.

Our strategic nuclear capabilities actually include the synthesis of dedicated sensors, assured command and control, the triad of delivery systems, nuclear weapons and their associated infrastructure, and trained and ready people. I will cover each of these. First, sensors.

Our integrated tactical warning and attack assessment network of sensors and processing facilities provide critical early warning and allows us to select the most suitable course of action in rapidly developing situations. While the Defense Support Program, commonly called DSP, is approaching the end of its life, the Space-Based Infrared System, or SBIRS program, is on track to provide continued on-orbit capability. The survivable and endurable segments of these systems, along with the early warning radars, are being recapitalized and are vital to maintaining a credible deterrent.

Assured and reliable command and control is critical to the credibility of our nuclear deterrent. The aging NC3 system continues to meet its intended purpose, but risks to mission success is increasing. Our challenges include operating aging legacy systems and addressing risks associated with today's digital security environment.

Many NC3 systems require modernization, but it's not easy to simply build a new version of the old system. Rather, we must optimize the current architecture while leveraging new technologies so that our NC3 systems interoperate as the core of a broader national command and control system. We are working to shift from point-to-point hard wired systems to a networked IP-based national command and control and communications architecture that will balance survivability and endurability against a diverse range of threats, deliver relevant capabilities across the range of interdependent national missions, and ultimately enhance presidential decision time and space.

Now I won't go through the laundry list of programs, but many of you know what some of those are. They involve terminals, voice conferencing, air-to-ground communication networks, low frequency communication upgrades to some of our command and control platforms such as the E-4B, and communication upgrades to programs such as our B-2 platforms as well as our E-6B, the service life extension programs. We must continue to move forward with investments to allow appropriate and timely command and control from the president all the way down to the operating forces.

Getting back to that smaller portion of the nuclear triad, per the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review, it states, quote, "Retaining all three legs will best maintain strategic stability at reasonable cost while hedging against potential technical problems or vulnerabilities," end-quote. The commitment to the triad was reinforced in the U.S. Nuclear Weapons Employment Planning Guidance the president issued in June of 2013. U.S. Strategic Command executes strategic deterrence and assurance operations with, of course, the ICBMs, the ballistic missile nuclear submarines, and the nuclear-capable heavy bombers. Each element of the nuclear triad provides unique and complementary attributes to strategic deterrence, and the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

So first, our ICBM force, which promotes deterrence and stability by filling a responsive and resilient capability that imposes costs and denies benefits to those who would consider to threaten our security. Though fielded back in 1970, the Minuteman III ICBM is sustainable through 2030 with smart modernization and recapitalization investments. The Air Force Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent Analysis of Alternatives is studying a full range of ICBM concepts which will shape our land-based deterrent force well beyond 2030.

Recapitalizing our sea-based strategic deterrent force is my top modernization priority and I'm committed to working closely with the Navy on this program. The Navy's SSBNs and Trident II D-5 ballistic missiles constitute the triad's most survivable leg, and the assured response they provide underpins our nuclear deterrent. This stealthy and highly capable force is composed of two major elements, the missile and the delivery system. Both are undergoing needed modernization.

With respect to the missile, we are extending the life of the D-5 missile to be capable until after 2040. And with respect to the submarine that delivers these missiles, the Ohio-class submarine has already been extended from 30 to 42 years of service. No extension is possible and these submarines will start leaving service in 2027. Now as a submariner, I have never been to sea on a submarine that's 40 years old, much less 42. As such, the Ohio replacement program must remain on schedule, no further delay is possible.

Heavy bombers: while our nation relies on the long-range conventional strike capability of our heavy bombers, the nuclear capability of the B-52 and B-2 bombers continue to provide us with flexibility, visibility and rapid hedge against technical challenges in the other legs of the triad. Our B-52 and B-2 training flights assure our allies and partners and underscore our security commitments. Maintaining an effective air delivery standoff capability is vital to meet our deterrence commitments and to effectively conduct global strike operations in the anti-access, access-denial environments.

Planned sustainment and modernization activities, to include associated nuclear command and control and communications, will ensure a credible nuclear bomber capability through 2040. Looking forward, a new highly survivable penetrating bomber is required to credibly sustain our broad range of deterrence and strike options beyond the lifespan of today's platforms. Similarly, I believe a follow-on nuclear cruise missile is necessary to replace the aging air-launched cruise missile.

Nuclear weapons and their supporting infrastructure underpin our nuclear triad. All warheads today are on average nearly 30 years old. While surveillance activities are essential to monitoring the health of our nuclear warheads, life extension programs are key to sustaining our nuclear arsenal into the future, mitigating age-related effects, and incorporating improved safety and security features.

The Department of Defense and the Department of Energy must continue to work together to keep the multi-decade plan for a modern, safe and secure and effective nuclear stockpile. The Nuclear Weapons Council's 3+2 plan, so named because of the long-term result is three ballistic missiles and two air-delivered warheads, provides a framework to sustain a nuclear force that addresses both near-term technical needs and future triad capability requirements.

As mentioned, Vice Admiral Benedict, I think, covered with you the W-76 Stack 1 life extension program that's in progress to support the submarine leg of the triad. This is particularly important as the W-76 represents the majority of our survivable strategic deterrent force. And the Air Force and the National Nuclear Security Administration, which I'll refer to as NNSA, continue to make progress on a full life extension for the B-61 gravity bomb, critical to our strategic capabilities and extended deterrent commitments. Both life extension programs are necessary to maintain confidence in the reliability, safety and intrinsic security of our nuclear weapons.

Looking to the future, we continue to work with NNSA on the feasibility of an interoperable nuclear package for our ballistic missile warheads and options for sustaining our air-delivered standoff capabilities. Sustaining and modernizing the nuclear enterprise infrastructure is crucial too, to our long-term strategy. Continued investment in the nuclear enterprise infrastructure is needed to provide critical capabilities that meet our stockpile requirements.

So what about people? To operate this nuclear deterrent force now and into the future requires skilled operators. It is the professionalism and the ability of our men and women in and out of uniform that gives our military that decisive advantage. They do everything from strategic planning to mission execution, along with maintaining and sustaining our weapons. People too are the weapons system that must be invested in and sustained, and will grow into our next generation of leaders to bring our new SSBNs, ICBMs and long-range strike bombers online or to conduct life extension programs, for example, in our laboratories.

When you look at the success of our deterrent, demonstrated most recently in the test you heard from Vice Admiral Terry Benedict, of how earlier this month we successfully test launched two D-5 missiles, marking more than 150 successful test launches, this success is made possible by all the highly skilled professionals that are behind our strategic capabilities. As such, I am proud to lead the team of dedicated professionals who every day ensure our nation has a safe, secure and effective and credible deterrent while supporting U.S. Strategic Command's other eight missions.

Although our nuclear arsenal is smaller than it has been since the late '50s, today's nuclear weapons systems remain capable and will serve the United States well into their fourth decade. In recent years, the percentage of spending on nuclear forces has gradually declined to only 2.5 percent of total DoD spending in 2013, a figure near historical lows. Today's nuclear force remains safe, secure and effective despite operating well below their original life expectancies.

The nation faces a substantive multi-decade recapitalization challenge, and we must continue investments towards that effort. Our planned investments are significant, but are commiserate with the magnitude of the national resource that is our strategic deterrent. If we do not commit to these investments, we risk degrading the deterrent and the stabilizing effect of a strong and capable nuclear force.

You might ask if we need to invest in this capability. And I hope from my comments today you understand my answer is, absolutely. The cost to recapitalize is less than the potential cost of an ineffective deterrent. We cannot afford to take the risk of not getting this right.

As I mentioned earlier, uncertainty and complexity dominate the security landscape today. Our actions must make it clear to our allies and adversaries that we are in a position to impose costs, deny benefits, and create the conditions in which the adversary knows he will not succeed in a conflict against the United States. While total deterrence against any particular adversary is never guaranteed, I am confident that today our strategic deterrent efforts are working and will deter nuclear attack against the United States and its allies. But we must not delay modernization if we are to meet our future demands.

To quote the Secretary of Defense, "We also have to remember that every day we help prevent war, that's what we are about. And we do that better than anyone else," end-quote.