U.S. Strategic Command



Space and Missile Defense Symposium

By Adm. Cecil D. Haney | Von Braun Center, Huntsville, Ala. | August 16, 2016

As Delivered - Edited for Clarity

Admiral Cecil D. Haney, U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) commander: Thank you for that kind introduction. It’s good to be back here in Huntsville at this premier gathering to discuss space, cyber and missile defense. I know some of the best minds are out here in the audience and I really appreciate all you do and want to really salute and say you’re making an impact in all that you do, and what you’re doing actually will endure for decades to come. I also know we not only have Lt. Gen. Dave Mann here in the audience, but also two others from Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command (SMDC/ARSTRAT), my component command for integrated missile defense. So if you’re out there, I ask you to stand and be recognized.

Given the theme of this symposium, I think it is appropriate for me to discuss why space, cyberspace and missile defense are important to U.S. Strategic Command and my priorities. We can’t look at space, cyberspace and missile defense separately. They’re connected and interwoven within a lot of areas, but in particular how I view my mission space. Frequently, we look at threats and vulnerabilities associated with space, cyberspace and missile defense as individual areas of concern. I would argue today that we can’t afford to do so. We must look at them in a comprehensive manner, as there are interconnections associated with these areas that must be understood, they must be dealt with. Similarly, I believe we must look at problems today as global problems because issues in one region tend to spill over into another. Hence, most problem sets have global ramifications, and they require the international community to address them in ways that are not limited to a specific domain.

While all of my unified command plan mission areas are specifically identified by the theme of this symposium, in order for my team to be successful requires success in those areas: space, cyberspace and missile defense. For example, let’s look very closely at my number one priority: to deter strategic attack against the United States and provide assurance to our allies. I think most of this room would agree that strategic deterrence is a complex subject and is foundational to our national security. It depends on the situation and we must master it to show that no adversary will gain the benefits they seek, no adversary can escalate their way out of a failed conflict, and all adversaries understand that we can and will, if necessary, respond in a time and a place in a manner of our choosing. U.S. Strategic Command’s capability underpins the fundamental elements of deterrence, affording the United States the ability to maintain strategic stability – a must in this dynamic and uncertain security environment.

Achieving comprehensive strategic deterrence and escalation control requires success in my number two priority: ensuring that our nation has a safe, secure, effective and credible strategic nuclear deterrent force. This force is clearly dependent on success in space and cyberspace.

Some might think that our nuclear deterrent is only a reference to our triad of nuclear weapons platforms: intercontinental ballistic missiles, ballistic missile submarines and nuclear-capable bombers. While these capabilities are obviously necessary, our deterrent is much, much more than nuclear weapons and platforms. It includes a robust intelligence apparatus; space-sensing capability that provides indication and warning, along with land-based radars; national nuclear command and control communications capabilities; missile defense for rogue nations such as North Korea; conventional capabilities; verifiable treaties; and comprehensive plans that link organizations together in a coherent manner. Each of these depends on successful operations in the space and cyberspace domains. In order to ensure strategic stability, though, we must be able to quickly fuse together intelligence and sensed information, ascertain if it is an attack against the United States, or attack against an ally, a missile launch in a war zone, or a developmental test and, when required, move this assessment all the way up to the president of the United States to maximize his or her decision space. The communication mechanisms must be survivable and enduring to ensure this assessment is not delayed or interrupted. So, I hope you get the picture of the dependencies on space, cyberspace, and missile defense to ensure strategic stability.

Deterring in today’s multi-polar world requires us to view threats across the spectrum of conflict, where escalation can occur with more than one adversary, and can be across more than one region and can span space, cyberspace, air, land and sea domains. Given all these complexities, and the interconnectedness of globalization, these strategic problems have global ramifications that require comprehensive solutions.

As I continue to outline my other priorities, I also hope they don’t surprise this particular audience.

To effectively deter, assure and control escalation in today’s security environment, threats must be surveyed, as mentioned, across the spectrum of conflict.

So, my number three priority is to deliver comprehensive warfighting solutions.

As you know, escalation can occur at any point, in various degrees of intensity, with more than one adversary, across multiple domains, to include below threshold activities that would not ordinarily prompt international action. In order to convince any adversary that they cannot escalate their way out of a failed conventional conflict and that restraint is always the better option, we must have a deeper, broader understanding of our potential adversaries so that we can deny action; hold critical nodes at risk; and prevent activities, perceptions and misperceptions from escalation.

We must also look at our military capabilities in a holistic manner and fully integrate them with our other elements of national power. We must pursue a whole-of-government approach to deterrence, including allies and partners in our efforts, with ready forces in all domains.

Priority number four: we must address the challenges in space and cyberspace with capability, capacity and resilience – enough said.

Priority five is building, supporting and sustaining partnerships. We aim to work seamlessly with our other combatant commands, across the federal government, the commercial sector, academia, with partners and allies to apply the scope of the U.S. Strategic Command’s portfolio toward a synchronized pursuit of national objectives.

And finally, number six is anticipating change and confronting uncertainty with agility and innovation. Sound decision making requires thorough analysis to prioritize our activities with flexible and agile and adaptable thinking. This effort includes a variety of wargames, demonstrations, experiments and, of course, exercises.

So with my priorities in mind, let’s review the strategic and security environment within that context.

Ballistic missiles and associated technologies continue to get more complex, travel further, have potentially larger payloads and countermeasures, resulting in better survivability and reliability and, of course, accuracy. More actors have access to them today.

Nation states continue to develop and modernize their nuclear weapons capabilities. Nuclear and non-nuclear nation states aspire to have or demonstrated their ability to employ not just the variety of missile capabilities, but also cyber, counterspace and other asymmetric capabilities – often through surrogates to avoid direct attribution – below the threshold of our international community intolerance levels.

These advanced capabilities are being developed by our adversaries or potential adversaries.

Their capabilities are becoming increasingly mobile, hardened, and they’re going underground. This is further compounded by the lack of transparency with respect to intentions.

Flight profiles can stress our sensor architecture and our engagement methodologies, decreasing warning times and ultimately leadership decision space. Technological advances and operational tactics, techniques and procedures to defeat missile defenses are improving and increasing as we see adversaries using mobile platforms and launchers at sea, on land and also in the air.

Hyperglide vehicle research and development are also challenging our planning calculus.

The ability to find, fix, track and hold at risk these types of capabilities is becoming increasingly

difficult. Hyperglide vehicle technology can complicate our sensing and our defensive approaches.

And now, let’s have a flashback. Back in 1978, when I was first commissioned, there were seven nations that could launch satellites. Today there are 76 entities, nations and corporations, that launched almost 18,000 objects into space. We can only expect that number to keep growing.

Similarly, we can expect an increase in the number of nations who may wish to deny the peaceful use of space. Adversaries and potential adversaries are developing, and in some cases demonstrating, disruptive and destructive counterspace capabilities, perhaps to exploit what they perceive as space vulnerabilities to vital national, civil, scientific and economic benefits to the United States, and to the global community at large.

Assured access to space is essential, yet no longer guaranteed. Critical command, control and communications, as well as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, can be threatened by adversary developments in electronic warfare and also cyberspace capabilities.

Every day we’re reminded of our vulnerabilities in cyberspace. While not every attack is strategic, the potential exists; it is not just Pokemon Go that is at risk.

So, what about North Korea? As you’re all aware, North Korea has tested a series of ballistic missiles in recent weeks following other provocations and associated statements and other activities, including another nuclear test – a space launch. Just look here at 2016, they continue to have flagrant disrespect for international norms of behavior. From short-range ballistic missiles to intercontinental ballistic missiles, North Korea continues to work on its capabilities. In addition to its Taepodong-2 space launch vehicle, North Korea is developing, and has displayed, the KN-08 road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile, likely to have the reach of the United States. It’s also testing, and we’ve seen pictures of Kim Jong-un and this, a submarine platform as they’re pursing a submarine-launched type of ballistic missile.

China and Russia are increasingly aggressive in the South China Sea and in Eastern Europe. Respectfully, they seem to condone Kim Jong Un’s behavior, which adds to greater destabilization, in my opinion, of the region.

That said, missile defense is not about Russia or China. Our capabilities can never address the size of their nuclear arsenals. Our capabilities are in place to counter threats from rogue nations.

While Iran is following, it appears, the mandate of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, it continues to develop and test ballistic missiles and cyberspace capabilities. It launched the Simorgh space launch vehicle in April, which could be capable of intercontinental ballistic ranges.

Last year, Iran announced that it had successfully fired the Emad, a precision-guided missile with the range to threaten Israel, and it has tested ballistic missiles against sea-based targets, which means it could threaten maritime activity throughout the Arabian Gulf and the Straits of Hormuz.

Of course, nation states are not the only cause of concern. There are also non-state actors, including those who have expressed a specific desire to acquire weapons of mass destruction, and terrorist groups that demonstrate through barbaric behaviors they understand no boundaries and lack respect for international norms.

Hamas has fired thousands of rockets into Israel.

Only last week, the Houthis in Yemen fired missiles into southern Saudi Arabia, which was defended by Saudi Patriot [missiles].

So, you might ask then: Commander, U.S. Strategic Command, what are you doing about all this? And I would say, ‘let’s be more comprehensive – what are we doing about it?’ Well, let’s start a bit bifurcated by looking at each of these areas separately, then I’ll try to fuse them together. You know that the United States must maintain secure access into space. Our national space capabilities allow us to globally navigate, communicate and observe events where non-space centers are not feasible. Space capabilities are also by component of comprehensive terms of assurance, and are critical to supporting our deployed forces and our national decision-making processes. Investment in these capabilities is vital to our national security. As we look, and as I sort of mentioned here, the space domain has increasingly become contested, degraded and operationally limited. These are not necessarily new challenges. Some countries have clearly signaled though their intent and ability to conduct hostile operations in space as an extension to the terrestrial battle space. These operations would deny U.S. forces the advantages of space, which would have enabled us to favorably shape events in all corners of the globe.

In response to these threats, the Department of Defense and the intelligence community established the Joint Space Doctrine and Tactics Forum (JSDTF), which I co-chaired this morning with the director of the National Reconnaissance Office, Ms. Betty Sapp. The JSDTF’s goals are to ensure U.S. space policy, doctrine, concepts, strategy and planning reflect that space is this contested domain populated by dynamic actors. We have already made significant improvements in the integration of exercises and wargames, and are revising associated joint doctrine, as well as new tactics, techniques and procedures for our space operators. The Joint Space Doctrine and Tactics Forum also fosters the transformation of how the United States operates in space by promoting seamless functionality between the Department of Defense and in the intelligence community – a tight bond we must continue to strengthen.

Another key initiative is this Joint Interagency Combined Space Operations Center (JICSpOC) concept. Right now, we have that center located at Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado. This center combines the efforts of U.S. Strategic Command, Air Force Space Command and the intelligence community with the goal to create unity-of-effort and facilitate information sharing across the national security space enterprise. In its current phase, the JICSpOC is providing a robust location to conduct comprehensive operational experimentation. The JICSpOC will ensure the space enterprise meets and outpaces emerging and advanced space threats, and will provide vital information for national leadership, allies and partners in the joint military force. It will also serve to enhance the nation’s deterrent posture by demonstrating the United States is prepared when our space capabilities are threatened.

A component to all of these efforts is, of course, space situational awareness. The information allows us to understand what is in orbit? Where is it? Where is it going? And how is it being used? Consistent with long-standing obligations and principals of the outer space treaty and other international legal standards, our goal is to ensure space remains a safe domain for all legitimate users. Sharing space situational awareness information, and collaborating with other nations and commercial firms, promotes safe and responsible space operations. It reduces the potential for debris produced from collisions and other harmful interference; builds international confidence in U.S. space systems; fosters U.S. space leadership; and improves our own space situational awareness.

U.S. Strategic Command has negotiated space situational agreements and arrangements with a number of commercial entities; intergovernmental organizations, such as the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites, the European Space Agency and 10 nations – and is in the process of negotiating additional agreements. Through these sharing agreements, U.S. Strategic Command assists partners with activities such as launch support; maneuver planning; support for satellite anomaly resolution; electromagnetic interference reporting and investigation; and support for decommissioning activities and space object conjunction assistance.

The Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program (GSSAP) achieved initial operational capability back in October 2015, and U.S. Strategic Command now operates the satellites to enable our cutting edge space situational awareness capabilities. This satellite constellation facilitates space-monitoring activities that contribute to global safety of space flight, as well as peaceful access to space.

At the nucleus of my command’s approach to space security, is mission assurance and assuring fellow combatant commands the required access to space-based capabilities.

U.S. Strategic Command’s Joint Functional Component Command for Space is located at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, and is led by U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. David Buck. It uses the Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC) to execute continuous and integrated military space operations, and routinely tracks thousands of space objects in orbit around the Earth. This includes more than 1,300 active satellites operated by about 60 different nations in a wide variety of government, commercial and academic organizations. We recently stood up a squadron to handle some of the generic space situational awareness duties for that space operations center, and I was happy to see that change – given the amount of energy that particular area requires – so the commander can be more focused on operational and strategic space.

I’m going to shift my rudder a little bit and talk a bit about cyber. This year marks the sixth anniversary of U.S. Cyber Command. U.S. Cyber Command imparts an operational outlook and attitude management of the Department of Defense in support of 7 million network devices and 15,000 network enclaves.

Our primary focus for cyberspace operations within the department is building that capability and capacity to protect our department’s networks, systems and information; to defend the nation against cyberattacks; and to support operational and contingency planning. The cyber mission force construct addresses the significant challenges of recruiting, training and retaining people, in addition to acquiring the facilities and equipment necessary to successful cyberspace operations. We are in the process of standing up some 133 cyber mission teams, manned by more than 6,000 highly trained people, and we’ll get there by the end of fiscal year 2018. To date, about 84 of those teams are filled in a variety of assigned missions, to include our ongoing efforts to degrade, dismantle and ultimately destroy ISIS.

These teams support combatant commands in national missions. On the 30th of September last year, the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff signed the department’s cybersecurity culture and compliance initiative, assigning U.S. Strategic Command and U.S. Cyber Command to lead the implementation. This is important as I go around and I ask many forums, ‘how many of you that work for the Department [of Defense] are cyber warriors?’ When I first got here and asked that during an all hands call, I would get only a few hands that would be raised. Then I asked, ‘What do you do?’ And I’d get, ‘I work on the network administration,’ and occasionally I would find a few cyber warriors. Today I see a totally different picture. When I go around all hands call, they know I’m coming now, I think, and they all raise their hands. Because anyone who touches anything that involves ones and zeros is, in my opinion, a cyber warrior. If nothing else, there is sensor out there that can report associated problems.

But clearly today, I am really proud of those cyber warriors that have the introductory ‘101-level’ or the expert ‘501-level’ and above that are doing the mission today under exquisite circumstances. Unfortunately, you get a lot of practice when you look at the different things coming our way on a day-to-day basis.

So, now let me go to missile defense. Accordingly, effective missile defense, as you would expect, is an essential element to our U.S. commitment to strengthen strategic and regional deterrence against states of concern. The ground-based midcourse defense system protects the United States homeland against limited intercontinental ballistic missile attack from places like North Korea, as I mentioned, and potential future threats from Iran. However, continued investment in three broad categories is required. One, to lower costs and improve our capabilities against growing threats, we must have persistent and survivable sensing. Two, we need increased inventories of ground-based interceptors with improved performance and reliability. And three, we must have increased regional capability and capacity.

These needs can be addressed by the continuing funding of programs such as long-range discrimination radar, redesigned kill vehicle, the Aegis ballistic missile defense, and terminal high-altitude area defense (THAAD) missile follow-on, overhead persistent infrared sensing, upgraded early warning radar and joint tactical ground stations. Collectively, these improvements will increase interceptor effectiveness and lower the cost to defeat the threats.

We have made significant progress reaching our missile defense goals. To enhance ballistic missile defense systems, sensing and discrimination, we are using available technology to improve sensors battle management, fire control and kill vehicles while fielding the long range discrimination radar to improve tracking and discrimination for homeland defense against specific theater threats. We are also increasing the number of ground-based interceptors from 30 to 44 by the end of 2017.

Upgrades continue to improve the ground-based interceptor fleet reliability and the development of the Redesigned Kill Vehicle that began last year, with the deployment expected to be somewhere in the 2020s. This kill vehicle was required to be more reliable, cost effective and easier to produce. Of course, we’ve seen a lot of activity in the European Phased Adaptive Approach this year and it’s good to see that on track in a good way.

As we also look even further over the horizon, phase three remains on schedule to be operational in the 2018 timeframe. And we’ll provide defensive coverage against medium and intermediate range threats with the deployment of the second Aegis Ashore and also an upgraded Standard Missile III Block II Alpha intercept missile.

So, speaking of THAAD, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that it is good seeing that discussion and work ongoing. I got to visit that capability in Guam, and just looking at what I talk about with North Korea, the Republic of Korea is working that seriously.

While significant investments in intercept technology have also increased our capability, much work needs to be done – increases in the quantity and quality of threats, increased risks of adversaries’ missiles that will penetrate our defenses and reach beyond there to the targets. So, we continue to work with our stakeholders there as we explore improvements to the current systems.

We must also examine the potential to prevent attacks from countering threats prior to launch. Efforts to defeat missile threats across that full launch spectrum allow awareness and warning and must be based on actions that are synchronized within a fully integrated missile defense architecture to maximize our limited defense capability.

And finally is the business of exercises. I can’t say enough about those, and I want to start with exercises at a combatant command level. As we look at these global problems, we’re pairing together more and more so our tier-one exercises are connected to one or more other combatant commands.

So I have a few other areas to cover, what I call our next steps, some of which are in progress. The first one I want to talk about is partnering, because you know there is no stronger message in deterrence than when we partner with the international community. Today, as we look at missile defense, we have increased our joint war games such as Nimble Titan, and these are critical to preparing our missile defense domain. Nimble Titan, the premier, strategic and policy level-focused missile defense event in the world, includes some 27 nations and international organizations. It provides participating nations valuable opportunities for multinational discussions, and also for experience and information sharing, as well as command and control procedures that enhance synchronized missile defense capabilities. The Nimble Titan campaign shifted focus from ballistic missile defense to integrated air and missile defense due to the demand signal from the associated participating nations and multinational organizations, in alignment with the chairman’s joint integrated air and missile defense vision.

To give you an example of the partnership in space, we work hand-in-hand with both the commercial sector, as well as our allies, through the combined space operations participant group, which meets at a variety of forums throughout the year. I can’t say enough about that; and in particular, our commercial partners, perhaps some of you are out there in the audience too, in terms of sharing requisite information so we can be more efficient and effective as we look at the space problem.

And then cyberspace partnership is likewise required. I had the pleasure in June to visit Estonia for example, and here is a country that is very serious about cyber. They use it in all of their associated companies, and are very serious about having resilient cyber capabilities. Not only did I get to visit the president, but I also got to see his commitment firsthand in the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence. It was good seeing a number of NATO countries were participating in earnest.

And of course today we talk a lot about the Third Offset, the business of our nation, handling big data, new concepts and approaches, improving human-machine interface. I sure hope some of you in this audience are working on some of those areas. Like the JICSpOC, we must have seamless intelligence and information fusion, decision-quality visibility and this must all be brought together, moved in a way so the decision makers can have the right information at the right time for the right decision making. No wonder our Deputy Secretary for Defense Robert Work calls this JICSpOC concept one of the Third Offset items that are, in fact, in motion today. I think its concept, though, is more universal than just space as we look at that – particularly, if you think about all of our intelligence entities and merging them together in one space. What to watch for, to have the necessary feeds and the vehicle to have a seamless conversation is no small change.

No discussion would be considered solved if we didn’t talk about resources, right? You know I testified before Congress a few times this year, and as I told them, I am very pleased with the president’s budget submitted for 2017, and particularly in the areas of space, cyberspace and missile defense. It reflects our nation’s commitment to our strategic deterrence strategy, and I hope it gets approved. With the threat of sequestration just around the corner, we can’t compromise on the momentum that we have established. If we are to meet the future challenges, we must have a synchronized campaign of investments supporting a full range of military operations that secure our national security objectives. In order to execute in the various domains I’ve discussed this morning, we need appropriations and operations for 2017. We need relief from sequestration.

In closing, I really want to honor all the men and women, both in uniform and those that are not, that are either directly associated or that support the missions of U.S. Strategic Command, but particularly space, cyberspace and missile defense. Having visited them in various places on the planet during my tour here, I can say we have dedicated professionals working, in some cases, at some very austere locations, such as the First Space Brigade in Iraq. I can tell you they are passionate. Their get-it-done spirit, quite frankly, is illuminating. They deserve our unwavering support.

As you know, my mission-space goes from under the sea all the way up to geosynchronous orbit. I just want to once again recognize all the partners in this room, from government, industry and academia, who are aggressively working for solutions. I need your help, I need your innovative ideas so that we can continue to work to drive for more technological superiority to reduce production and sustainment costs to work to improve cybersecurity. I get way too many reports of cleared defense contractor networks being exploited. And while we spend a lot of time talking about protecting these data systems, I can’t talk enough about command and control capabilities in our other warfighting systems that depend on those ones and zeros. You know, my goal is all about deterrence. But if deterrence fails, we owe our nation options. I thank you for the work you do to solve our nation’s most complex security challenges and I thank you again today for the invitation to speak before you. I know, as you continue to work here, conversations will be fruitful, and I look forward to the outcome of the work that is being done and the success of this conference.