OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. – Adm. Cecil D. Haney, U.S. Strategic Command commander, traveled to Washington D.C. and Kings Bay, Ga. Sept 18-19 to discuss strategic deterrence, the nuclear triad and celebrate a major milestone.
Haney's trip highlighted the thousands of nuclear professionals, who through a diverse and broad set of missions work around the clock to provide a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent capability in an effort keep the United States safe.
"Our people, civilian and military, are our strength and what makes us unique," the admiral said. "The level of patriotism and the level of respect for the mission I witness every day not only gives me upmost confidence, but a tremendous sense of pride to be part of such an outstanding community of true professionals."
During his first stop Haney joined more than 180 experts in industry, military, government, academic and international affairs at the Triad Conference in Washington D.C., to participate in discussions about the strategic nuclear enterprise and the roadmap ahead for the triad.
The event was sponsored by the Minot Task Force 21 Committee, a group of civic leaders from Minot, N.D., who advocate for Minot Air Force Base and its nuclear deterrence mission.
"For the foreseeable future the nuclear enterprise will remain foundational to strategic deterrence," Haney said. "Each distinct, but complementary, component of these strategic capabilities is vital to our deterrence mission, as well as to those nations around the world, that count and depend on us for extended deterrence."
The admiral also shared his absolute confidence in the nuclear enterprise, but cautioned that long term commitments towards modernization must be made to ensure its future.
"We have sustained and we will continue to sustain our platforms and weapons, which have not had significant investment since the late 1990s. But these sustainment efforts cannot last forever," the admiral said. "Maintaining an effective triad now and in the future will require timely and stable investments to sustain outdated platforms and components and fill existing gaps. In a world where our traditional advisories are modernizing, emerging adversaries are maturing and non-state actors remain elusive and dangerous, we must consider today's threats in a manner that ensures future effectiveness."
While the need for strategic deterrence might not always be in the forefront of public thinking, it is vital to the nation's security.
"As Secretary Hagel said earlier this year, we may not go to war every day, but our forces work 24 hours a day, seven days a week conducting global operations in an effort to help prevent war from happening in the first place. We do that better than anyone else and we will continue to do that."
The following day the admiral traveled to Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Kings Bay, Ga., to commemorate the submarine force's 4,000th strategic deterrent patrol during a ceremony there.
"Since the first fleet ballistic missile submarine USS George Washington completed her maiden patrol in January 1961, strategic nuclear deterrence has been the cornerstone of U.S. national security, as well as that of our allies and partners," Haney said. "This community has a very rich history, one that I am extremely proud to be a part of. Our guided missile submarines continue the vital task of deterring our adversaries and assuring our allies. Although the technology has changed since the first patrol, the resilience and dedication of the Sailors [who] manage and provide support to our SSBNs remain that essential ingredient to this success story."
He added that the ballistic missile submarine mission provides a survivable, assured second strike capability in addition to flexible launch locations, making it a crucial component of the nuclear triad and strategic deterrence.
"This mission is as important today as it was then," Haney said. "Today our SSBNs continue their vital task of deterring our adversaries and assuring our allies. With this changing and challenging global security environment, it should be no surprise that strategic deterrence is the core competency of our national defense strategy. And I will join other national leaders who say the strategic deterrent capability is foundational for our national security. It serves to encourage restraint, deny benefits, and if deterrence fails to impose loss to any potential adversary and provides the President of the United States flexible responsive options."
USSTRATCOM is one of nine DoD unified combatant commands and is charged with strategic deterrence, space operations, cyberspace operations, joint electronic warfare, global strike, missile defense, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, combating weapons of mass destruction, and analysis and targeting.