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SPEECH | July 31, 2019

U.S. Strategic Command 2019 Deterrence Symposium, Opening Remarks

Rear Admiral Richard Correll, U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) director of Plans and Policy (J5): Thanks very much, everybody. Good morning. And on behalf of our entire STRATCOM team, welcome to Omaha.

Thanks to each and every one of you for joining us at our 10th Annual United States Strategic Command Deterrence Symposium. Governor Ricketts, thank you very much for joining us. I know you’re going to provide some remarks this morning. We really appreciate you taking some time out of your busy schedule to join us here today, and everything you do for the STRATCOM team.

With respect to all of us here, your contributions to the dialogue are what makes this event so successful. This year we have over 670 participants, and we have a number of international dignitaries attending from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Iceland, Poland, and the United Kingdom.

The symposium is designed to drive intellectual discussion on deterrence theory among government agencies, the Department of Defense, industry, academia and international partners.

Over the next two days we’ll explore a variety of topics including how economic entanglement affects competition and deterrence; strategies for multi-polar competition; arms control; and we’ll have a panel of outstanding students from the Academic Alliance that will present a broad range of topics.

By design, the panels do not focus on a particular domain like space or cyber, which we’ve done in the past. Instead, we encourage discussions from an integrated perspective. We hope you challenge each other, our keynotes, moderators and panelists to examine deterrence theory in today’s global security environment. Our goal is for the discussions to continue during the breaks, the evening social, and over the coming weeks and months after you return home.

Ladies and gentlemen, again, welcome to Omaha, and thank you for joining our 10th Annual United States Strategic Command Deterrence Symposium. I hope you enjoy the symposium. Thank you.

Pete Ricketts, Governor of Nebraska: Good morning, everybody. Thank you for coming here today. We appreciate you being here in Nebraska and I want to thank Strategic Command for inviting me to be here today. And I also want to thank Offutt Air Force Base. They are tremendous partners here in the State of Nebraska.

The Omaha area has been proud to host Offutt Air Force Base and have Strategic Command here and its predecessor Strategic Air Command since 1948 and be a part of our overall deterrence here in our country. It’s something that we as Nebraskans are very proud of, serving and supporting in this role. It is one of the things that is really integral to this community, and I think you’ll find as you talk to some of the folks here, you would not find a better relationship between a community and a base such as we have here with Omaha, Bellevue, and Offutt Air Force Base.

I know many of you, this may be your first visit to Nebraska so you may wonder okay, I know about the base, how did I end up here? Somebody left, that was good. Thanks. Yeah, how did I end up here?

Nebraska actually has a central location in our country. And you may not know this, but we are a communications hub. In fact my family’s business, TD Ameritrade, one of the reasons we were established here back in 1975 is because of the base and the communications build-out. We were able to access really inexpensive 800 telephone lines, and that was one of the ways that we had a competitive advantage on our competitors that were say in New York City.

Nebraska is also a transportation hub with major trucking companies and two class one railroads. It was mentioned that I had worked for Union Pacific in the past.

Nebraska is also a data center hub. Facebook recently opened their most recent data center here in the United States, it’s over a billion-dollar investment. Google has announced they’re building a data center here. Other companies like Yahoo, Fidelity, Travelers, they all have data centers here. And part of what that does is really create an environment where we have a lot of skilled workers here on the Silicon Prairie to be able to help support Offutt and STRATCOM --you laugh at Silicon Prairie? You guys never heard that before? Oh, man, we’ve got to do some better marketing here on our state apparently.

But yes, we’re the Silicon Prairie. We do have a burgeoning tech sector that is helping support the work that is going on at STRATCOM and at the base at Offutt Air Force Base.

We’re very proud of what we’ve got here in Nebraska, and clearly, we need to do a little bit better job of communicating that.

We want to welcome you to the 2019 Deterrence Symposium here, to be able to talk about these important issues around deterrence.

Now, I gave you a little bit of history about Nebraska and our company going back to 1975 and talking about 800 telephone lines. Back then that was kind of a radical model for the brokerage industry. It’s something that we don’t even think about today, using an 800 number to be able to do business. Technology is so far past that.

Or, if you want to use a different industry, think about the music industry. Back when I was in college there was a transition from vinyl to CDs, and bands made their money by going out and on tour to promote their CD and CD sales. Today that business model has slipped. Does anybody even buy CDs anymore? You’re streaming it through the internet. And let me tell you, bands make no money on that. They make their money now by going out on tour. So what used to be a promotion to sell the CDs has now become the main way most music artists make their money, by going on tour.

The reason I highlight things like what happened in Ameritrade and how we started off with an 800 business and now do almost all of our business on the internet, or how the music industry’s changed, it really demonstrates the world changes. And it changes for deterrence.

We can all remember back when it was a bipolar world. You had the Soviet Union and you had the Western Bloc. And nuclear deterrence was primarily deterrence. But as we all know, just like in our everyday lives how we consume music or financial services has changed, so has the way deterrence has changed. We have to think about things such as space and cyberspace and a multi-polar world which the admiral mentioned. And the world always changes. That’s why it’s really incumbent upon those of us who want to see continued peace and prosperity in the world, to think about deterrence changing as well. Why you’re all here. Why you’ve done this for ten years. To focus on how do we have to evolve in a changing world so we can continue to deter the people who may want to disturb the peace.

If we think about, for example, China and Russia are developing anti-satellite capabilities. China thinks that the United States’ Achilles Heel is our reliance on space. Well how do we make sure that we are deterring them from whatever they may want to do? We know that, for example, President Xi has said that he wants to be advanced in key industries by 2025. They started a 10-year plan in 2015 to do that. And he made some comments about becoming a modern socialist country with peace and harmony and all that sort of thing by 2049. But what he really means is he wants to be a global superpower by 2049.

That is part of how the world changes and how we all have to think about working together to create a changing deterrence environment so that we can respond to that and continue to have a world of peace and prosperity.

Our deterrence posture has helped keep the peace primarily -- we haven’t had a global war since World War II, and we all want to keep it that way. So it’s up to us to continue to think about how we change to make sure that we’re deterring those nations who may want to disturb that peace. E That’s up to us.

So, thank you all very much for being here today, to talk and exchange these ideas about this very important subject, how technology and social changes and the economics all are going to impact how we have our posture for deterrence in the future. It’s important work.

So, we appreciate everything you’re doing. Thank you again for coming to Nebraska. We’re grateful to have you here. I don’t know how much time you’ll have to be able to enjoy what we’ve got to offer, but I hope you get a chance at least to be able to see some of the things maybe in the Old Market, downtown Omaha. But if not, put us on your list to come back and visit us again. We would love to have you here and be able to show off more of what our great state has to offer.

Again, thank you, and I wish you the best on the rest of your symposium.

Vice Admiral David Kriete, deputy commander of USSTRATCOM: Good morning, everyone. Thanks very much for that kind introduction. On behalf of the Commander of U.S. Strategic Command General Hyten, we thank all of you for making the trip to beautiful Omaha, Nebraska.

I’m real excited to be here this morning to kick off the 2019 Deterrence Symposium which is the 10th such Deterrence Symposium that we’ve hosted here at U.S. Strategic Command. I’ve seen a lot of familiar faces so far, so I know we have a lot of veterans of our Deterrence Symposiums, so hopefully you’ll see how we’ve advanced some of the dialogue on many important issues over the years.

For me this is the 4th time that I’ve attended this event and each one, in my mind, has been better in many ways than the previous versions.

We have a tremendous lineup of experts and experience in the audience here today, as well as distinguished international guests. Many of our Department of Defense and interagency partners are represented, and warfighters from across our USSTRATCOM team. So I hope everyone here gets a chance to share their thoughts either on the sidebars, out in the hallway, or by asking questions of our panelists throughout the next couple of days.

General Hyten absolutely wishes that he could be here with us today. You know that if he were here in Omaha he would be participating in every bit of the Deterrence Symposium. But, as most of you know, yesterday he had a hearing in front of Congress for his nomination to be the next Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, so the next steps hopefully will be determined very soon, but you should all know that he’s led our command very well, to be successful in every endeavor, even when he has to be off station attending to other business. So, we all wish him well as the Senate continues their consideration of his nomination over the coming days.

Governor Ricketts, thank you very much for graciously welcoming everyone to Nebraska this morning. I’ll tell you what, I think STRATCOM is the only military command where the Governor of the state actually comes and participates in so many events with us, and that’s really special. I’ve never seen that anyplace else, but thank you very much for being part of our family and our team here.

I sincerely appreciate everyone’s commitment to leading us over the next two days as we explore the theme for this year’s Deterrence Symposium which is “Deterrence and Assurance in an Era of Great Power Competition.”

In a few minutes we’re going to kick off some great discussions on that topic.

Since our National Defense Strategy reoriented our Department of Defense’s priorities to the security environment that addresses near peer competitors, we’ve spent a lot of time and energy across the department thinking about what deterrence and assurance means in today’s environment. So what we’ll do over the next couple of days, our panelists are going to discuss this topic not only from a military perspective but also from economic and diplomatic perspectives.

The only constant in today’s strategic environment is that it’s dynamic and it’s constantly changing. Our competitors continue to look for vulnerabilities in our nation’s strategies to gain advantage in the strategic landscape. Rapid advancements and disruptive technologies have aided the development of capabilities that can threaten our deterrence strategies. Particularly for the last two decades, Russia and China have studied the way that we fight. Studied our competitive advantages in the air, land, sea, space and cyber domains, and they’re challenging the U.S., our allied and or coalition way of warfare in all domains.

So, to respond to the changing nature of both threats and deterrence, and to effectively deter and respond in this multi-polar, all-domain world that is our reality, we must be able to out-think, out-innovate and out-partner our competitors and our adversaries and that’s part of what we’re here to talk about this week.

The strategic environment requires the integration of capabilities across all the nation’s combatant commands. The DoD, our interagency partners, and our allied and other partner nations. I’m confident that we are all up to the challenge because together, with forums like this and discussions like these, we can address the changing conditions to best adapt our strategies for the current and the future threats.

Another reason why I’m confident that we’re up to the challenges is the 162,000 men and women, military and civilian, of U.S. Strategic Command who are stationed across the globe, and that includes 3,700 airmen, soldiers, sailors, marines and civilians who are working right here at our headquarters today at Offutt Air Force Base.

Now at STRATCOM we have three priorities. They’re real simple. First, above all else we provide strategic deterrence. Second, if that deterrence fails, we provide a decisive response. And when I say decisive, I mean in every sense of the word. And third, we ensure that we have a combat ready force that is resilient, trained and equipped to do what’s necessary to defend our country and our allies whenever and wherever those threats may come from.

Now the men and women of STRATCOM have embraced these priorities and they’re reflected in the work that I watch them do every single day.

Now during the last year, a lot’s been going on in the STRATCOM portfolio. STRATCOM has lived up to its responsibilities as global warfighting command, supporting operations that are actively deterring potential adversaries across the globe. Our airmen are deployed to our nation’s missile fields, silently standing the watch. They’re flying strategic bombers deployed in other combatant commanders’ areas of responsibility all around the globe. Our sailors are deployed on submarines, patrolling the seas and partnering with our allies to strengthen our sea-based strategic deterrent. Just a few weeks ago, in early July, we resupplied the USS Alaska in Faslane, Scotland, continuing our partnership with the United Kingdom, NATO and highlighting our commitment to the North Atlantic.

In May we successfully tested a Minuteman missile from Vandenberg Air Force Base and conducted a demonstration and shakedown Trident missile test launch from the USS Rhode Island - both on the same day. We don’t think that’s ever been done before.

Our missile defenders continue to enable U.S. and coalition operations all across the globe, responding with agility when needed to protect America, our allies and our forward deployed forces.

Now here at STRATCOM headquarters we conducted over 400 exercises in the last year. Recently, earlier this year, even while the 55th Wing fought floods that covered two-thirds of Offutt Air Force Base, our command provided uninterrupted nuclear command, control and operations to our nation and continued integrating with the Joint Staff and other combatant commands during Global Lightning, a unique, truly globally integrated exercise. During that time, our J4 and our J6 teams quickly identified the command’s critical systems to keep us in the fight and develop an integrated solution that prevented the loss of any mission critical capabilities.

While doing all of this, USSTRATCOM is also adapting to meet the needs of our nation and the security challenges that we face.

This year the command completed a reorganization to a simpler warfighting structure, providing our component commanders the authorities to deliver unparalleled capabilities for strategic deterrence and enable these globally integrated operations. We’re also working to ensure our military has no gaps or seams between combatant commands, either real or perceived, by any adversary.

Currently, we have about 300 people from STRATCOM who are working out of our new command and control facility on Offutt Air Force Base, with more folks transitioning to that new facility over time. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s a pretty amazing thing to see. That state-of-the-art facility will enable USSTRATCOM to lead these missions for the Department of Defense for many, many decades into the future.

Now during that recent flooding, as the base power turned off, every single generator that was supporting the brand-new command and control facility kicked on. We actually had to go turn some of them off because there was not a way to harness all the power that they were generating since our facility was not yet occupied. But everything worked exactly like it was supposed to, and I know that it’s going to guarantee our ability to always, and I mean always, get the mission done today and in the future.

We’re working hard but deliberately to get the entire command over into that new command and control facility as quickly as possible.

As most of you also know, the United States will stand up a Space Command in the coming weeks, and STARTCOM will gradually transition responsibility for nation’s space operations, our military space operations, to that new command.

But, even when STRATCOM is no longer assigned a mission to conduct space operations, we will continue deterring our adversaries in space because we must be able to bring all of these capabilities together seamlessly across all domains and integrate with other combatant commands, interagency, and our allies and partners to meet the threat. SPACECOM will help us do just that.

So, over the next few days we’re going to talk about deterrence in the current complex global environment, how we collectively deter and assure in this era of great power competition because we believe strategic deterrence is an active mission. It’s not a passive mission. It’s very dynamic.

The basic principles of deterrence really haven’t changed over time. Deny benefits, impost costs, and demonstrate our capabilities to others. But, we have to continue to think about how the current and future landscapes affect our application of those principles. I think that will come out in many of the panels that we have today and tomorrow.

Now the bedrock of our decisive response at STRATCOM is founded on a safe, secure and reliable nuclear triad. Our intercontinental ballistic missiles, our submarine forces and our strategic bombers including the tankers that support them, as well as the nuclear command and control and communication systems that connect all of them together.

But, decisive response does not only mean nuclear response. And so we must have the capability to respond in any domain at the time and place of our choosing.

So, deterrence must also occur in all domains - air, land, sea, space and cyber as we tailor to multiple adversaries across the globe, and it requires credibility, a rock-solid belief by others that we have the capability and the will to respond when necessary.

Deterrence today is the integration of all those capabilities and across all domains.

Finally, as I mentioned earlier, this is our 10th Annual Deterrence Symposium. So to those of you that have watched this event grow over the years, and especially to our J5 team that has put this event together year after year, thank you very much for all your hard work and your dedication, and your participation in the symposium.

The first Deterrence Symposium was actually held at the Qwest Center in downtown Omaha in 2009. We don’t call it the Qwest Center anymore, as times have changed. That year we had 450 people who came to discuss strategic deterrence. We’ve now got over 650. That first event included 25 guests from outside the United States representing five countries. Today we now have almost 100 international guests representing 14 different countries. Yesterday over at Offutt Air Force Base we had 125 people in attendance, participating in our classified deterrence seminar, including many of our allies and our NATO partners. And tomorrow, we will recognize another General Larry D. Welch Deterrence Writing Award Winner fostering the next generation of deterrence practitioners.

As you can tell, we’re really proud of this event’s growth and its ability to bring together the most respected thinkers on deterrence from across the government, the military, and our academic communities.

I hope everyone is ready for a great symposium, so we’re going to jump right into the heart of the discussion on competition with our first panel in a couple of minutes. We’re going to discuss some tough topics like how to deal with China’s and Russia’s growing nuclear programs; how does economic entanglement affect deterrence; and what the role of arms control might be in this multi-polar world.

Again, a special thank you to all of our keynote speakers, our panelists, and our panel leads for your willingness to share your intellect and your experience with others.

So, on behalf of those 162,000 men and women of USSTRATCOM, again, welcome to Omaha, Nebraska, and I hope that you enjoy the Deterrence Symposium.