ADMIRAL HANEY: Well good morning and it’s great to be here.
Thanks Bill for your kind introduction. You left out a part though, I often advertise with intellectual groups like this I was born and raised in Washington D.C., so a few strikes against me - that makes me a Redskins fan - but even worse, I’m a D.C. public school grad so it’s always a pleasure when I can be around intellectuals like you and by osmosis grow more intellectual myself.
So just the short timeframe of having chats with you this morning has been very inspiring; to see members of the Hudson Institute and the types of issues that you dwell in, from this institute. You know with Herman Kahn’s tie to our mission, responsibilities and of course his broad flexible view that deterrence requires a wide range of capabilities, I‘m just elated to be with you today.
I can’t thank the team here enough for what you do for applying your executive brain power to some of our country’s most challenging issues and striving for the betterment of the world. I’m honored to be here representing all the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and civilians that work for U.S. Strategic Command.
Just yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting with senior leaders associated with our national security apparatus, from the Secretary of Defense of course, Chairman Marty Dempsey and all the other fellow combatant commanders - yes all nine of us were assembled there - as well as the chiefs of the services. We had the pleasure at the end of our day conference of having the President join us so we could have a discussion with him.
These, of course, are fantastic opportunities for us leaders to periodically get together to discuss and exchange our views, our integrated efforts associated with today’s very complex environment that you know so well.
So while I’ll not be able to discuss the classified items from these conversations, I will frame my discussions today associated with risk. I’ll focus on three areas: strategic risk, operational risk and of course it wouldn’t be a rounded conversation if I didn’t talk about budgetary risk.
So to set the stage though, first let me provide you an overview of U.S. Strategic Command and associated responsibilities. From some of the questions I did get this morning though, I thought I ought to start with where is my headquarters located. Obviously not New York, I’m in the middle of the country. Yes, a sailor exiled in the heartland of America. Not enough ocean for me there but quite frankly we have the Missouri river that flows nearby there at Offutt Air Force Base right beside Omaha.
Now, I used to whine a bit about being a sailor exiled when I was deputy commander there, about not having enough ocean. Then the floods from North Dakota, snow and rain came down and the rivers swelled up to such an extent that it almost impacted our runway there which is a big deal.
So I no longer whine about that. I’m really happy about the level the mighty Missouri river has today. But I thought I ought to highlight my mission areas. You see them pictorially here in all the pictures that surround my priorities.
So today obviously the heart of the Strategic Command mission is to detect and deter strategic attack against the United States and our allies and to defeat those attacks if deterrence fails.
To accomplish that, U.S. Strategic Command provides an array of global responsibilities across nine mission areas assigned by the President. We execute operations of course in strategic deterrence-based operations, cyber operations, global strike, and we have a leading role in the areas of joint electronic warfare, missile defense, intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance, combating weapons of mass destruction and analysis and targeting.
As I hope you would expect, our deterrence mission is steeped in the likes of deep thinkers such as Kahn, Schelling and Brodie, because deterrence at the foundational level requires the adversary or potential adversaries to understand both the action from which they must restrain and the unacceptable costs of non-restraint.
Our U.S. 21st century deterrence capabilities are more than the triad of delivery platforms I often talk about; intercontinental ballistic missiles, bombers and of course submarines.
It includes the following: a robust and agile intelligence apparatus that can provide the necessary indications and warnings, a synthesis of dedicated space and ground systems and sensors that provide the critical early warning for missile launchers and bomber threats, assured national and nuclear commanding and controlling communications, the necessary infrastructure to sustain nuclear weapons without fully testing the warhead today, a credible missile defense system that extends and defends against limited attacks from rogue nations such as North Korea and Iran and capabilities that they are aspiring to today, relevant space and cyberspace capabilities, trained and ready people that conduct strategic operations and planning, synchronized treaties, policies and strategies and of course a campaign plan that orients all of our assigned capabilities and activities toward a common daily purpose.
Now I mention that in most audiences I get to talk to - probably not a surprise in that laundry list to this audience - but it wasn’t that long ago when I first started this job and I went to Whiteman Air Force Base where our B-2 bombers operate out of. I asked that audience of airmen warriors that work for me what’s included in strategic deterrence? You can imagine their first answer was “Sir, it’s B-2’s,” and I said well what else? You can imagine their second answerâ€¦ “More B-2s.”
So from that point I said I better talk about the list so that we can have a deeper understanding, but as I talk to America in various forums, I typically find, depending on where I go, communities that surround ICBM fields talk about that piece. So one of my goals as a commander is trying to get the intellectual base to think about this more holistically because without sensors, without indications and warnings, and what have you, we can’t have a safe, secure and effective strategic deterrent.
While the diversity of my mission set allows us to maintain a global perspective, the President’s nuclear employment strategy makes it clear that the United States will maintain a strong and credible nuclear deterrent and must be prepared for the possibility that deterrence will fail.
Sometimes that piece is missed as we think of the President’s goal to reduce the role of nuclear weapons. This document I’m referring to is not that old, released back in June of 2013. Thus, for the foreseeable future, the nuclear enterprise will remain foundational. I would argue, to strategic deterrence and a core responsibility of U.S. Strategic Command. While I would love to give you an exciting synopsis of all nine of my mission areas that would take much longer than I’m allowed to speak at this forum.
But I wanted to give you at least a glimpse of those and understand that those are interwoven into our thinking, our planning, and what have you, to work the strategic deterrence spectrum today.
So let me start off with that first bin called strategic risk. I know this audience includes the astute observers of foreign policy and the strategic environment that was mentioned. In fact, I‘m awestruck by the bios of just a handful of you that I was either able to read about before coming in here or to be exposed to; veterans from the Korean war, etc., that are also part of this unique audience.
So I would say collectively, if I was to add it together, you could give this part of the speech. But, I will still go through this for continuity.
You understand that we’re dealing with an environment that’s more complex and dynamic, and perhaps more so than any time in our history, so I’m going to bin how I view strategic risk in three categories: global modernization of strategic capabilities, the increasing space and cyber threats, and the threats associated with violent extremist organizations.
As a country, we are challenged not only with global modernization of nuclear forces, but also by the increasing mobile land and sea-based nuclear capabilities, as well as in space and cyberspace attempting to limit our ability to hold other strategic forces at risk.
It is a difficult and perplexing problem as we balance the realities of strategic stability with today’s fiscal environment, such that we maintain a strategic advantage today, and of course we need it well into the future. For example, there is no doubt President Putin continues to stress the importance of Russia’s nuclear arsenal. This is clearly seen with his active messaging on social media today such as his numerous YouTube videos where you see him ordering his commanders into action during major strategic force exercises. Twice in the past year.
One of these was conducted on the 8th of May at the height of the Ukraine crisis. You may have seen Putin’s emboldening move with Russian strategic bombers penetrating the United States, and our allies, and their air defense identification zones, on what’s called “training missions.” Multiple occasions this year. Crescendoing more than we have seen in the past. You may recall Putin’s recent remarks reminding the world of Russia’s status as a leading nuclear power.
Today after more than a decade of investments and modernization across Russian strategic nuclear forces, that includes significant mobile capabilities at sea and on land and in long range bomber capabilities. This includes improving the intercontinental ballistic missiles and the submarine capabilities and the multiple warheads that they deploy with today.
Today however we are not only dealing with an existential threat from Russia. I firmly agree with Director Clapper, that, as he has said, “the time when only a few states had access to the most dangerous technologies in the past is over.”
China is also modernizing their strategic forces to include space and cyberspace, and similarly has things out in the public. There’s a video, for example, that they show on their public TV of one of their missiles being launched and, of course, the target is the United States of America in the video that’s out there for their public. You don’t see that often on CNN, in fact I don’t ever think I’ve seen it on CNN, but these kinds of things are ongoing today.
China is enhancing their silo-based intercontinental ballistic missiles while open source news even reports the first fleet tests of their new mobile missile, the DONG FENG-31B. They are already working on a successor that is also expected to be another road mobile intercontinental ballistic missile carrying multiple warheads.
They also continue their testing and integration of the next generation of ballistic missile submarines which is providing China its first credible sea-based nuclear deterrent, underpinning their drive for regional dominance and growth to world power status.
Of course North Korea also continues to advance their nuclear ambitions. For example, they’ve conducted multiple nuclear tests and claimed they have possession of miniaturized warheads capable of delivery by ballistic missile. At the same time they continue to move forward with their development of new road missile, which we call the KN08 intercontinental ballistic missile, that we believe has the ability at least to reach the United States of America.
Although we haven’t seen it being flight tested, North Korea appears to be testing elements related to the program. Just last week they’re believed to have carried out yet another engine test. I could talk at length about Iran and their desire to acquire nuclear weapons and how preventing them from acquiring that capability is paramount for regional stability, or the modernization efforts of Indian and Pakistan similarly with their nuclear deterrence.
So that’s the somewhat strategic backdrop, if you will, some of which you see from the pictures before you. So I would emphasize the following three points. First while we can consider Putin and Kim Jong Un as irrational actors, the threats they pose of course are quite different. Clearly the speed, approach and discipline with which Russia overtook Crimea indicates the emphasis Putin is placing on his military today, and is a level of sophistication not seen from the North Korea military.
Second, while the United States is moving in the right direction to recapitalize and replace our mature nuclear weapon systems and platforms, we have much work to do.
Third, as we decrease the number of platforms and warheads under the New Start Treaty, the value of a safe, secure and effective, and credible nuclear deterrent becomes increasingly more important, both in terms of the assurance we provide our allies and partners while at the same time facilitating the norms set by the non-proliferation treaty.
But as you know strategic risk can be more than nuclear today. And I thought I would also touch on two other areas: space and cyber space.
As a nation we are highly dependent on space capabilities, more so than ever before. Space is fully integrated in the way our joint military forces operate today as well as how our civilian and commercial infrastructures operate. As commander, I’m keenly aware that our potential adversaries are developing capabilities that would deny us the advantage we garner in this domain presenting several risks.
Congestion is a big problem. Our joint space operations command center there at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California routinely tracks more than 20,000 objects in space larger than a softball, of which only about a thousand of those are satellites. The rest is all debris.Â Each of which has a potential threat to our operational satellites as they travel at speeds up to 17,500 miles per hour. Since the beginning of this year we’ve logged 90 collision avoidance maneuvers, both in low earth orbit and geosynchronous orbit, and on average we make about 30 notifications per day. In fact my update this morning was, that over the last 24 hours, having an iridium satellite move so it wouldn’t be impacting a Chinese satellite, which would create more debris as you see in this graph.
These numbers are increasing at a significant rate and will continue to increase, not just because our capabilities are getting better to track and identify these objects, but because our technology, of course, is cheaper and smaller resulting in smaller non-maneuverable satellites with the potential to cause serious implications in an already crowded environment. A collision with one satellite could have devastating effects, to our financial and economic sectors, on our ability to conduct military operations, and maintaining a safe, stable and usable domain for many years in the future. But it’s more than the nature of congestion; the space domain is increasingly competitive and contested with more than 60 nations now operating satellites in space. It’s very problematic to see countries such as China conducting missile tests designed to destroy these satellites, as we saw just back in July here. Now thankfully this time this test did not involve hitting another satellite creating more debris as we saw in 2007 when they conducted another anti-satellite test which did create the debris as you see up here in the chart.
Any collision has this potential of adding to this population of debris. And remember when I said 20,000 the size of a softball, when we look at those that are much smaller than that zipping around, it’s a pretty impressive environment to operate in. It’s interesting talking once to General Susan Helms, who is retired now, but she had done some of the longer space walks holding a record there. I just asked her about that business of our debris, “Do you worry about that up in space?” and she talked about getting tears in the space suit as a result of small debris moving at incredible speeds.
So keeping this domain safe and operational is a full time job. While space â€“faring nations have a responsibility to police themselves in space and adhere to a common standard of conduct, our government and industry has to partner together on this issue. I am delighted to say, however, that we are moving in the right direction with space situational awareness. In fact, a couple of weeks ago I signed a Memorandum of Understanding along with our allies from Australia, the United Kingdom and Canada on what we call our “Combined Space Operations” efforts to afford partnering nations to understand the current and future space environment, to address challenges and to maintain peaceful use of space.
And these discussions are at the top secret level, so we aren’t beating around the bush in terms of our operations of the mischief that’s going on in space today.
Similarly, cyberspace is essential to our network-centric way of life. As Americans we have become reliant on the modern technology. We take it for granted. It’s critical to our infrastructure, our financial business and what have you, and is another area that we must have assured access. Today’s threats are both immediate and evolving, and the level of activity against our systems just continues to grow.
Unlike space, I think we see in the news a lot more emphasis on the threats and mischief on a more continual basis in cyber. So you know the list given the intellectual capacity of this group: Estonia in 2007, Georgie in 2008, and of course what’s going on in the Ukraine today.
China, too though, has been recently in the news regarding cyber theft. We must take an appropriate, comprehensive approach to cyber threats. Cyber incidents are growing in tempo, severity and destructiveness. In fact, my cyber team sees serious threats to tamper with our networks every hour of every day.
In that regard, Strategic Command is working hard to increase our capacity and capability in this rapidly growing area, but it doesn’t matter what organization you’re a part of, the networks - your networks - must be resilient.
Admiral Mike Rogers, my commander for U.S. Cyber Command, relieved General Keith Alexander. I often talk to groups about the need for leadership to be invested in cyber defense. That is absolutely a board room issue, I would argue. Similarly, I would argue that the insider threat has to be part of the dialog, as we see in the Snowden chapter.
I read an article not too long ago and it said that if you’re chief information officer comes to you and says that he or she has cyber under control, you should fire that individual. I couldn’t agree more. Our cyber defense tools are not as mature, as inclusive, as we need to be. They are just challenged so frequently.
As such, I can’t stress enough the importance of creating partnerships and building relationships, because we must bring together our cyber experts from academia, private sector, and from within and across our government, to develop coherent comprehensive cyber policies that prioritize national cyber security, while being respectful of civil liberties and privacy concerns.
As you know, this is not just a Department of Defense issue in battling cyber threats, but quite frankly I am of the belief that we can’t do it alone.
Terrorism is another risk that, of course, has been in the news and you all are well aware of. I think your last forum delved into that, if I have my notes straight.
So we should not lose sight that many terrorist groups continue to have aspirations and desires to get in their hands weapons of mass destruction. You have probably recently read about violent extremist organizations with aspirations of obtaining nuclear weapons with links to Russia and Iran and their increased efforts to launch a massive cyber-attack against the United States, and their aggressive use of social media and the Internet, particularly in the area of recruiting.
Given the brutality of their movements as we’ve recently seen with ISIL, and of course Boko Haram, we should expect that given the opportunities groups have the will and in many cases are already displaying the propensity, to behave in ways that are unconstrained by international norms.
So you can see, we are dealing with strategic risk in several areas. In terms of operational military risk, we are dealing with an aging force across our department of defense both in terms of weapons platforms and infrastructure. While today I’m confident in our ability to deter and detect strategic attack with a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent force which has been validated by recent tests across all three legs of our triad, we have to continue to improve the reliability. We just can’t afford a technical failure that renders one leg of our triad or one of the systems that support this effort that would tremendously decline our capabilities, particularly in this environment.
The last significant investment in the nuclear enterprise occurred in the 1980s. We are now entering a modernization period with all of the strategic deterrent delivery platforms and weapons systems that are operating well beyond their original design life.
So let me give you a few examples here. Our nation recently celebrated the 4,000th submarine strategic deterrent patrol. The USS HENRY M. JACKSON, one of our ballistic submarines, celebrated its 30th anniversary this past Monday. This is the first Ohio-class ballistic submarine to be extended beyond the original 30-year service life to an unprecedented 42 years. That ought to really put an exclamation mark on why we need to have its replacement on patrol in 2030.
Our Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles were fielded in the 70s and must be sustained at least until 2030. We are working on, but need to continue a solid plan and design to bring online, its replacement. As I mentioned earlier, our newest B-52 models are more than 50 years old. Our B-2’s are already over 20 years. So just to illustrate how old the B-52 is, to put an exclamation mark on it, General Harencak, who we call “Sac,” works in the Pentagon as the Air Force’s nuclear guy, the assistant chief of staff for the Air Force strategic deterrent nuclear integration. He flew the B-52 in 1984. His son, a lieutenant now at Minot Air Force Base, is flying the exact same B-52. I mean the exact same B-52, same tail number. He has a grandson that was born this year, and as General Harencak likes to say he’s already looking at having that kid have an appointment to the Air Force Academy’s class of 2036. He fears that his grandson will also fly that exact same B-52 if that’s the career field he chooses in the future, because we don’t have plans to retire this platform before 2040.
Well, as I tell that story, you should be proud of the United States of America’s ingenuity to be able to maintain this platform for more than 50 years and have it still be effective at a combat mission both dual mission, conventional and nuclear. To think that it can still continue to function for another 26 years, well, we can’t rest on those laurels -- we have to replace those platforms. We have a program we are working on, called the “Long Range Bomber.” The appropriate weapon system, both the bomb, the B-61, and the long range strike option when is codename for air launch cruise missile, as well, has to be part of the equation.
So operational military risks are more than nuclear platforms. Some of our warhead infrastructures have been around since World War II. Some of you in this room may have been involved in some of this capability over your careers. The average warhead age today is 27 years and growing. This is why it’s so important to have life extension programs on track. Significant investments are needed to man our cyber mission teams. In terms of missile defense, we have a finite number of interceptors, and we must improve our sensor discrimination abilities and continue to improve the effectiveness of our kill vehicle. With respect to my other mission of intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance, we have spent decades designing and building systems for use in a permissive environment. That may not always be the case, given this uncertain world we live in.
As we look to sustain and modernize our military forces, the budgetary environment of course remains a concern. Our predecessors certainly made wise investments which we continue to reap the benefits of today. But mission areas are growing significantly while budgets and manpower are simultaneously decreasing, threatening mission success and increasing risk to our strategy. So as the commander of U.S. Strategic Command, I know some of our most pressing costs are associated with modernizing our strategic deterrent. With of course a national debt that today is 17.8 trillion dollars, I am mindful that there is a cost to sustain and modernize our strategic deterrent capability. Today we spend less than 3 percent of our Department of Defense budget on this capability. So, yes, recapitalizing our strategic deterrent requires increased investment. We are at risk as a joint military force given the impact of sequestration and the budget control act, at a time of operationally significant strategic and security challenges.
In closing, let me say this, for nearly 70 years we’ve maintained a credible, safe, secure and effective deterrent to deter our adversaries and to assure our allies and partners. As a result, for nearly 70 years we have not used these weapons â€“ notice, in crisis â€“ we use them every day, 24-7. In a world where our traditional adversaries are modernizing, emerging adversaries are maturing, and non-state actors remain elusive and dangerous, we must get 21st century deterrence right.
The right question is not whether can we afford strategic deterrence, but whether can we afford not to address the strategic and operational risk. As Dr. Schlesinger used to say “deterrence is indispensable if we are to avoid a major war.”
Of course we could not have this credible strategic deterrent today if it were not for the men and women, both in uniform and civilian clothes, who conduct this mission day in and day out. We’re supported all the way to those laboratories in Livermore, etc. I’ve traveled around to visit these folks in our bases, in the labs. Quite frankly, almost twice a year I’m able to get around at a minimum, and I tell you that you can be proud of those inspirational men and women that work for U.S. Strategic Command or support the mission. They are passionate about this mission of providing our nation its deterrent. Across all those mission areas I’ve talked about, from under the sea to geosynchronous orbit, they are making concrete contributions to our national security, 24-7, 365 days a year. I couldn’t be more proud of them and the work they are doing and I would hope you have the same sentiments.
So, I’m going to stop here as advertised to take some of your questions.