NEWS | March 29, 2017

Dr. Matthew Kroenig discusses nuclear strategy at USSTRATCOM

By USSTRATCOM Public Affairs

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. –  Dr. Matthew Kroenig, a Georgetown University professor, visited U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) headquarters March 29, 2017, to continue the mutually beneficial collaboration between USSTRATCOM and academic institutions like Georgetown University.

Kroenig, associate professor in the Department of Government and School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and a senior fellow in the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security at the Atlantic Council, said this was his sixth visit to the command’s headquarters.


“I think it’s important for the academic community and the policy makers and the operators to interact, Kroenig said. “That’s one of the reasons I love coming to USSTRATCOM; every time I come here, I learn more about U.S. nuclear and strategic policy and strategy.”


U.S. Air Force Gen. John E. Hyten, commander of USSTRATCOM, also noted the importance of collaboration and idea sharing between government and academia.


“I cannot over-emphasize the need for academic insight to increase the effectiveness of our mission capabilities,” Hyten said. “We must have discussions and debates with people who have differing viewpoints, because when you hear that different perspective it is extremely powerful, and it makes you hone your argument better.”


While here, Kroenig held discussions with Hyten and delivered a presentation to command members on “The Logic of American Nuclear Strategy.” In his remarks, Dr. Kroenig discussed the advantages and disadvantages of nuclear superiority; his perspective of nonproliferation; the results of hypothetical nuclear conflicts and crises; and other topics related to global nuclear capabilities.


Kroenig said his most recent engagements with USSTRATCOM – including two USSTRATCOM Deterrence Symposiums – were because of the USSTRATCOM Deterrence and Assurance Academic Alliance, which started in Oct. 2014 to stimulate new thinking and develop future generations of deterrence practitioners. Since then, more than 30 local and national universities have joined the alliance, including Georgetown University.


“I would like to thank USSTRATCOM for the Academic Alliance,” Kroenig said. “I think it’s a farsighted and important program. I think it benefits academics, I hope it benefits USSTRATCOM. And I hope it benefits the country because at the end of the day, we all want the same thing: stability, peace and deterring war. I think bringing some of the best minds together from all different backgrounds and walks of life is the best way to achieve that goal.”


He went on to highlight one “concrete way” Georgetown University benefitted from its collaboration with USSTRATCOM.


“We’ve had [retired U.S. Navy] Adm. [Cecil D.] Haney, the previous [USSTRATCOM] commander, come out and give two lectures to my undergraduate course, Introduction to International Relations,” Kroenig said. “It’s a big, impressionable audience – 250 freshmen and sophomores – and many of them, at the end of the semester on their teacher evaluations, said the ‘Haney lecture’ was the highlight of the semester. I think it had an impact on them, and it was also a good opportunity for some of the faculty and senior administrators to have a meal with Admiral Haney and pick his brain and have an exchange [of ideas].”


Before departing the Omaha area, Kroenig said he will meet with other deterrence practitioners during a conference on nuclear latency at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln – another Academic Alliance member.    


“Some of the best academics working on nuclear issues are going to be there talking about the concept of nuclear latency and what that means for proliferation and for deterrence,” Kroenig said. “There are a number of unanswered questions about 21st century deterrence. Some of them are constant, but there are new issues that need to be addressed.”


One of nine Department of Defense unified combatant commands, USSTRATCOM has global strategic missions assigned through the Unified Command Plan that include strategic deterrence; space operations; cyberspace operations; joint electronic warfare; global strike; missile defense; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; and analysis and targeting.