NEWS | Sept. 14, 2010

STRATCOM commander addresses nuclear challenges

By Aletha Frost Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- The commander of the U.S. Strategic Command addressed nuclear deterrence challenges at the Air Force Association Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition 2010 here Sept. 13.

Gen. Kevin P. Chilton outlined the command's framework to meet ever-changing and complex requirements in a modern, geo-political environment.

"The purpose of a deterrence force is to create a set of conditions that would cause any potential adversary to conclude that the cost of any particular act against the (U.S. ) or her allies is far higher than the potential benefit of that act," General Chilton said. "Deterrence is ultimately focused on the decision maker. "

The general also explained it is just as important to study multiple potential adversaries with nuclear capabilities and differing views as it was to study a single adversary during the Cold War.

"The number of actors with nuclear capabilities has changed since the start of the Cold War and that has changed the geo-political environment today," he said. "During the Cold War, the U.S. and the Soviets had similar stakes in the game -- national survival. "

Today's nuclear environment causes the U.S. to have to analyze who and what to deter, and under what circumstances to conduct this deterrence, the general said.

Robust warning and attribution systems, sustained command and control, viable delivery platform vehicles and a safe, secure, effective warhead are a must as the U.S. moves forward in its nuclear objectives, the general said.

"I have every confidence in today's generation of Airmen; that they will rise to the challenges and will be successful in assuring the effectiveness of the nuclear deterrent of the (U.S. ) for generations," General Chilton said. "Because above all else, the greatest service we provide when we wear this uniform is not winning our nation's wars, but preventing them from ever happening. "

To read General Chilton's speech in its entirety visit: