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News | July 29, 2022

U.S. Strategic Command hosts 13th annual Deterrence Symposium

By U.S. Strategic Command Public Affairs

U.S. Strategic Command's 13th annual Deterrence Symposium brought together nearly 600 academic, government, and military deterrence experts July 27-28 to explore the 2022 theme of Evolving Deterrence: Adapting to the Dynamic Global Threat Environment.

Returning to an in-person format after two years of virtual events, the Deterrence Symposium featured panelists with a broad array of backgrounds, each offering perspectives on effectively deterring and, if necessary, confronting ever-changing threats that challenge the international rules-based order.

"This event is an opportunity to take a step in the right direction… a great catalyst for concepts and ideas," said Adm. Charles Richard, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, during his opening remarks.

Building upon symposia discussions over the last few years, Adm. Richard addressed the shifting landscape of Integrated Deterrence, saying "We have to anticipate the challenges that we're going to have in all domains."

The event's seven panels were designed to foster deep conversations and ask tough questions of the assembled experts, many of who have spent years analyzing and researching complex military and geopolitical topics.

The 2022 Symposium agenda included discussions on strategies for deterring two nuclear-armed peer competitors, Russian deterrence and coercion: using Ukraine as a case study, China's strategic breakout: What it means for deterrence and assurance, and Power of the private sector: Implications of their actions on strategic deterrence.

Dr. Melanie Sisson, Fellow-Foreign Policy at the Strobe Talbott Center for Security, Strategy & Technology, participated in the Symposium's opening panel with the topic: Solidifying the Concept of U.S. Integrated Deterrence.

"[Communication] has to be based on what we can see and understand about how the adversary is receiving those messages. It's always interpreted through their lens."

Approaching deterrence strategy from diverse, sometimes differing points of view was a theme throughout the panels, including a second-day panel on how global autocracies impact stability and international order.

Dr. Dmitry Adamsky, Professor at Reichman University's Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy, and Strategy, commented during that panel, "One can grasp the deterrence strategy of a given actor only if one filters this strategy through the lenses of strategic culture." He went on to define strategic culture as, "a set of beliefs, norms, values, assumptions, and narratives which shape collective identity, mentality and inform policy choices, organizational instinct and modus operandi of a given strategic community when it thinks about the questions of peace and war."

John Kelly, former White House Chief of Staff and retired U.S. Marine Corps general, was Wednesday evening's keynote speaker, offering his unique perspectives on Integrated Deterrence, both from a military leader's standpoint and from that of a senior member of the Trump administration.

More than 40 experts in their respective fields engaged across 20 hours of panel discussions and keynote speeches, all heard by domestic and international attendees as well as an online audience watching via live stream.

"Deterrence is not a static concept; it never has been and it's not going to be particularly in the environment that we're in," said Adm. Richard during his closing remarks. "We have so many areas where we need to rethink what our theory looks like, challenge all assumptions, and start to bring in new concepts. There are new domains. There's new technology. There's so much work that we have to do."

USSTRATCOM has global responsibilities assigned through the Unified Command Plan that include strategic deterrence, nuclear operations, joint electromagnetic spectrum operations, global strike, missile defense, and analysis and targeting.