NEWS | Nov. 18, 2010

STRATCOM nominee cites multiple security challenges

By Terri Moon Cronk American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- The United States is confronting security threats that are complex, unremitting and compelling, Gen. C. Robert Kehler told the Senate Armed Services Committee during his confirmation hearing Nov. 18.

General Kehler is President Barack Obama's nominee to become the chief of U.S. Strategic Command, based at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb. General Kehler was STRATCOM's deputy commander three years ago.

"Previous nuclear threats continue," General Kehler told the Senate committee, "while new ones, state and non-state, are emerging. New and complex transition linkages provide opportunities for terrorism and other security concerns. "

Space is no longer the sole purview of two superpowers," General Kehler said. "And it is certainly not a sanctuary. "

Meanwhile, he said, cyber threats present national security concerns that military officials are just beginning to understand.

In light of today's complex global security environment, "international security relationships need to be forged with rapidly growing new regional powers," General Kehler told the Senate committee. "All of these developments will require more intensive and extensive cooperation across many elements of our government and the governments of our friends and allies. "

General Kehler, now the commander of Air Force Space Command at Peterson AFB, Colo. , told the committee he believes the nation's ability to shape events to benefit U.S. national security interests will depend on the skill and dedication of the men and women who serve.

"Leading (U.S. ) Strategic Command is an awesome responsibility," he said. "If confirmed, I pledge to you that the strategic challenges facing our nation will command all the energy and commitment I can muster. "

According to its website, STRATCOM's missions are: to deter attacks on U.S. vital interests, to ensure U.S. freedom of action in space and cyberspace, to deliver integrated kinetic and non-kinetic effects to include nuclear and information operations in support of U.S. Joint Force Commander operations, to synchronize global missile defense plans and operations, to synchronize regional combating of weapons of mass destruction plans, to provide integrated surveillance and reconnaissance allocation recommendations to the Defense Secretary, and to advocate for capabilities as assigned.