U.S. Strategic Command

 

Speeches

AFA-NDIA-ROA Triad Symposium

By Adm. Cecil D. Haney | Bangor, WA | March 11, 2016



(As Prepared)

Adm. Cecil D. Haney, U.S. Strategic Command:  Good afternoon.  Peter [Huessy] thanks for that kind introduction, and for your continued efforts in engaging the public and raising awareness on strategic issues. 

As a submariner, living in the heartland of America – which is about as far away from the water as a Sailor can get – it’s always great to be back by the water’s edge.  Peter, I commend your strategic planning calculus in getting me back to the coast.  Maybe the next one will be in Hawaii.

While I jest, USSTRATCOM’s location is strategic and I am proud to live in such a patriotic community that is so supportive of our military members and their families.

It’s wonderful to see such a diverse audience, including government, industry and academic leaders, as well as many of our international partners.  While there are many familiar faces I could personally acknowledge, rather than calling on each of you individually, know that I sincerely appreciate all that you do, including your being present today.

I will, however, take a moment to recognize our veterans whose legacy of service is a cogent example for our forces today.  I realize many veterans continue serving in and out of uniform, so I thank each of you for your continued contributions to our country – and for your continued interest in strategic deterrence.

Given that our strategic nuclear deterrent enterprise is foundational to our nation’s defense, the theme of this conference is important to me.  This is further highlighted in multiple strategic documents, including the 2015 National Military Strategy, 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review, the 2013 Report on Nuclear Weapons Employment Strategy and the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review.

As such, I’ll discuss why our security environment requires a comprehensive approach to deterrence, assurance and escalation control; appropriate investments for a sustained and modernized force; and a strategic workforce.

Just a glance at the headlines points to our nation's efforts supporting coalitions in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, and other hot spots around the globe.  Additionally, we’re facing five evolving challenges:  Russia, China, North Korea, Iran and violent extremist organizations.

Russia poses an existential threat to the U.S. by virtue of the size of its nuclear arsenal which it continues to modernize, while building its conventional military forces.  Russia also maintains a significant quantity of non-strategic nuclear weapons.

Mr. Putin is engaging in destabilizing actions in Syria and Ukraine, emphasizing new strategic approaches, developing counterspace and cyber capabilities, while also declaring and recklessly demonstrating its willingness to escalate to de-escalate if required. Having said that, Russia must understand it would be a serious miscalculation to see nuclear escalation as a viable option.  Russia will NOT achieve the benefits they seek.

China continues its attempts to advance claims over disputed areas and is making significant investments in its overarching military capabilities (including nuclear and conventional) to support its anti-access, area-denial campaign.

China is also pursuing conventional prompt global strike capabilities and offensive counterspace technologies, and exploiting computer networks.  These activities, when considered with China’s lack of transparency, raise questions about its global aspirations.

North Korea’s actions, such as launching satellites into space using ballistic missile technology and conducting nuclear tests, are destabilizing and provocative.  Equally concerning is the coercive, irresponsible rhetoric of Kim Jong-Un: making claims of  a "successful" hydrogen bomb test and ordering “nuclear weapons deployed for national defense always on standby so as to be fired any moment.” 

These actions are not only disturbing, they are flagrant violations of United Nations Security Council mandates  and show a serious lack of regard for regional stability and undermine peace and security in the broader region.  As with Russia, North Korea must understand they cannot escalate their way to victory and that the U.S. will assure our allies in the region.

As Iran follows the mandates of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, we must be vigilant for any shift regarding nuclear weapons ambitions.  We know that Iran is developing ballistic missile programs and cyberspace capabilities, and their continued involvement in conflicts in the Middle East requires our attention.

Finally, we are part of an international campaign against violent extremist organizations and terror groups, that are recruiting and operating across political, social, and cyberspace boundaries – seeking to destroy our democratic way of life.  We must succeed in this campaign.

Clearly, there is a lot going on around the world. 

Deterring in today's multi-polar world requires us to view threats across the “spectrum of conflict,” where escalation may occur with more than one adversary and in multiple domains.

Future conflicts will not be contained within prescribed borders, stove-piped domains, or segregated areas of responsibility.  They will be transregional, multi-domain and multi-functional.

Whether we are deterring nuclear weapon aggression or addressing strategic threats in space and cyberspace, our actions and capabilities must make clear that no adversary will gain the benefit they seek; that no adversary can escalate their way out of a failed conflict; that restraint is always the better option; and that, if necessary, we will respond in a time, place and domain of our choosing.

So how do we deter our adversaries, and potential adversaries, in a world where deterrence depends on the situation and one size never fits all?  

For example, as we look at Russia’s near-abroad efforts or China’s behavior in the East and South China Seas -- how do we demonstrate our commitment to our allies and partners in a way so as not to engender misperception, destabilization and/or escalation?

First, we must have a comprehensive understanding of the strategic environment as perceived from an adversary’s point of view.  We must be able to rapidly acquire and digest traditional and non-traditional reams of information, and integrate it into historical and cultural models to create timely options for national security decision makers.

We must understand capability and intent so that we can deny enemy action, hold critical nodes at risk and prevent misperceptions and actions from escalating.

Second, deterrence is about conducting integrated and combined operations and activities.  As such, we must look at our military capabilities in a holistic manner and fully integrate them into our other levers of national power. 

Some view our strategic deterrence capabilities only as the platforms and weapons that comprise our visible triad – made up of intercontinental ballistic missiles, ballistic missile submarines and our nuclear-capable B-2 and B-52 bombers. 

While all legs of the triad are vital to our strategic deterrence efforts, those capabilities alone are not enough.

Often overlooked are the necessary tankers that refuel our strategic bombers, enabling them to carry out assigned global missions.  A safe, secure, effective and ready strategic deterrent also includes an appropriate intelligence and sensing apparatus to give indications and warnings of incoming threats; assured National and Nuclear Command, Control and Communications; the necessary infrastructure to sustain and maintain reliable warheads; a credible missile defense system that defends against limited attacks; a resilient space and cyberspace architecture; as well as a robust conventional force.

Additionally, verifiable treaties and policies are vital for stability and transparency.  For example, New START promotes stability by maintaining rough equivalency in size of strategic nuclear forces, as well as transparency via inspections.  Furthermore, it helps assure our non-nuclear allies that they do not require their own nuclear deterrent capabilities. 

Third, we must have a whole of government approach, and include our allies and partners whenever possible. 

Fourth, as a nation, our messages must be aligned.  Nuclear deterrence – and the triad – remains a vital and central element of our national security.  In addition to providing unique and complementary characteristics, each leg of our nuclear triad provides a hedge against technical problems or changes in the security environment.

As Secretary [Ashton] Carter reaffirmed before Congress in Dec., 2015, nuclear deterrence is “the bedrock of our security,” and, therefore, “having an effective, modern, safe, secure nuclear deterrent is absolutely critical.”

Make no mistake, U.S. Strategic Command is a ready force, capable of delivering comprehensive warfighting solutions for our commander in chief.  But perception also matters.  Adversaries and allies alike must recognize the readiness of our strategic forces.

To maintain strategic stability as we draw down our nuclear deterrent forces, we must have a demonstrated credible, ready, and resilient capability across nuclear, space and cyberspace. 

Our strategic capabilities are routinely demonstrated and exercised.  Our B-2 and B-52 bombers support a variety of exercises across the globe.  Last month, two ICBMs from the 91st Missile Wing at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, were successfully flight-tested.  You may recall reports of a UFO off the west coast in Nov. of 2015, when the USS Kentucky effectively tested a Trident II D5.  Having personally witnessed this test, I can assure you it wasn’t a UFO.

USSRATCOM also conducts exercises – some at the very senior levels of our government – of our space, cyber and missile defense capabilities.

All are demonstrations of our strategic readiness.

Having commanded U.S. Strategic Command for almost 2 1/2 years now, I am thankful for the support of the White House, Congress, the DoD and the DOE.  Through forums such as the Nuclear Weapons Council, the Nuclear Deterrent Enterprise Review Group, the National Leadership Command and Control oversight council and various senior level meetings, tremendous improvements have been made throughout the nuclear deterrent enterprise – from oversight and investment, to personnel and training.

While we are making great progress, most of our delivery systems and nuclear command, control and communications architecture are “maturing.” They have already been – or will be – extended decades beyond their original expected service life and must be replaced in the 2025-2035 timeframe.

The extended service of our nuclear delivery platforms and weapons is a testament to the efforts and ingenuity of our predecessors, especially the designers, engineers and maintainers.  One thing is certain:  the upkeep of our nuclear delivery platforms to meet my operational availability requirements increasingly challenges our Airmen, Sailors and maintenance personnel.

We are fast approaching the point where we will put at risk having an effective nuclear deterrent.  We must not jeopardize strategic stability by failing to sustain and modernize our forces.  This is critical in a global security environment where it is clear that, for the foreseeable future, other nuclear-capable nations are placing high priority on developing, sustaining, modernizing and in some cases expanding their nuclear deterrent forces.

To meet my warfighting operational requirements, I must have credible deterrence capabilities.

Our ICBM force is our most responsive leg of the triad.  Highly reliable, our Minuteman IIIs promote stability and significantly complicate an adversary’s decision and planning calculus. 

Though fielded in the 1970s, we must sustain our ICBMs until at least 2030.  It is vital that the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent program remain on track, in a manner that  fully integrates  the flight systems, ground-launch systems, command and control and support equipment, as well as leveraging the commonality of the D5 Trident missile.

The Navy's SSBNs and Trident II D5 ballistic missiles constitute the triad's most survivable leg.  Our Ohio-class submarines will operate for an unprecedented 42 years each, six years longer than the USS Kamehameha, previously our longest operating submarine. 

The Ohio-class is quickly approaching the end of its effective service life and must be replaced.  To meet operational requirements, the first patrols done by Ohio-class replacement must begin in 2031. 

Our dual-capable B-52 and B-2 bombers are the most flexible and adaptable leg of the nuclear triad and provide significant conventional capabilities.  Our newest B-52 models are more than 50 years old with no plans of retirement until 2040, and our B-2s are already almost 25 years old.

I’m pleased to see we are progressing with the Long Range Strike Bomber, the B-21.

Our bombers must be credibly equipped with a range of weapons that will provide the President options to address a range of contingencies in non-permissive environments.  Therefore, we must stay on course with the “3+2” strategy, the Long Range Stand Off cruise missile and the B61-12 gravity bomb.

Our industrial base cannot be overlooked.  Some of our warhead industrial facilities have been around since World War II.  The stockpile is the oldest it has ever been.  The average age of our warheads is more than 28 years and they will only continue aging.

Finally, the National Nuclear Command, Control, and Communication is currently meeting its intended purpose – providing assured, survivable communication from the President down to the warfighter – however, risk to  mission success is increasing as key elements of the system age.  We have set upon a course to modernize this architecture to achieve robust and resilient 21st century communication capabilities that will effectively address a broadening range of threats and operational requirements.

Delaying development and fielding any of these programs would put unacceptable risk on our nation’s strategic deterrence capabilities, and would directly affect our credibility and our ability to deter and assure. 

I know you are all well aware of our current resource environment.  As I testified yesterday, I am pleased with the President’s budget request for fiscal year 2017. 

Our budget has a deterrent value all of its own, and the President’s budget reflects our nation’s commitment to our deterrence strategy, with appropriate funding for sustainment and modernization of the nuclear enterprise, space, cyberspace and missile defense.

If we are to meet future challenges, we must have a synchronized campaign of investments supporting the full range of military operations that secure our national security objectives.

Our choice is not between keeping the current forces or replacing them.  Rather, the choice is between replacing those forces or risking not having them at all. 

Similar to how the U.S. analyzes the budgets of others, our adversaries pay close attention to how we back up our words with resources.  To that end, budget stability is integral to our strategic stability.

I will finish with the most important topic – our people. 

As many of you know, interest in the area of strategic deterrence waned in the years after the Cold War.  We have realized along with sustaining and modernizing our platforms and weapon systems, we must also sustain and modernize our intellect.  We must build a “force of the future.”

Today, I am happy to acknowledge that by strengthening and normalizing interaction with academic professionals to stimulate new thinking in deterrence and assurance, we are making real progress.

We have established an academic alliance focused on developing a community of interest for deterrence and assurance in the context of national security.  We are now in partnership with 23 universities and military higher-education institutions, to include Stanford, Georgetown, and National Defense Universities, as well as several of our own Nebraska-based universities.

Last week, in partnership with the University of Nebraska at Omaha, we brought in faculty and students from 14 of these institutions to participate in a tabletop exercise and a number of panels and discussions.

This forum, like many others, emphasized the need for high-velocity, continual learners willing to develop and stretch their intellect well beyond a one-dimensional problem.  Our “strategic warriors” and planners must be able to think through complex scenarios and operate in a multi-dimensional environment, with several activities taking place simultaneously.

As a nation, we must inspire and develop the next generation of Thomas Schelling or Henry Kissinger to address 21st century deterrence, assurance and escalation control issues.

As I conclude my remarks, understand that we must take a comprehensive approach to strategic deterrence, assurance and escalation control that considers strategic threats in nuclear, space and cyberspace.  We must maintain situational awareness of it all and act where necessary.

For 70 years, thanks in part to our credible nuclear forces, the U.S. has deterred great power war against nuclear-capable adversaries.

It’s impressive to see today’s systems working well beyond their expected service lives, but we cannot continue to rely on that.  As we reduce the numbers of our weapons and delivery systems, the relative importance of each weapon system increases. 

Modernization is not only necessary to maintain capabilities for today’s threats, it is necessary to ensure we have flexibility and options to address future uncertainty.  Failure to modernize and maintain readiness will limit our strategic options in dealing with the span of crises we can expect and those we don't anticipate.  Furthermore, our credibility assures our non-nuclear allies that they do not require their own nuclear deterrent capabilities.

Put simply:  We are out of time.  Sustainment is a must.  Recapitalization is a requirement.

Thank you.  I look forward to your questions.