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SPEECH | July 10, 2014

5th Annual "Generation Prague" Conference

Well good afternoon. It's great to be here, particularly as I look at what this is about, and of course the crowd of individuals that are represented here -- as I go through the list here from Department of Energy, the Department of State, individuals from our legislative branch from Capitol Hill, homeland security, academia, I understand some universities are here, think tanks -- and the list just goes on and on. These are the kinds of groups I really like to hang out with, usually in much smaller settings so that I can get an intimate conversation about life in general, and particularly in the sport that I'm involved in here.

Now how many of you have been to Nebraska? All right, we've got quite a few hands that are up here and that's a good thing, you because I'm a sailor obviously wearing this Navy uniform, but I'm also stationed there in the heartland of the United States of America, and some would say go figure. Sometimes when I am travelling commercially they will say what is a sailor like you doing in the middle of the country? I usually tell them it was because of my pathetic performance as a sailor, and I got exiled there, but sometimes they don't buy that.

But I ask that business about the heartland because just as we were talking about the business of working in the strategic nuclear business, that's another great place there, US Strategic Command that has evolved over the years from Strategic Air Command to what it is today with some mission areas I'll talk about. But that you should think about that arena too, because sometimes it is difficult getting talent to decide to move out there. This is my second tour out there, and it's amazing to me of what that community is about, how vibrant it is, and at the same time, being a native of Washington DC, I can maneuver about, have all the big city stuff and not the traffic. Go figure.

Anyway, when you look at today's military, and you look at how far we have evolved, under this thing called the Goldwater-Nichols Act, we've become an integral joint military force, where we don't work the problems of our business singlehandedly with one service -- we integrate it together. We've come a long way with that, and now as I continue to participate in this sport I'm very pleased to see how far we've gone with the integration of the interagencies, as we go forward in this complex world we live in. So that piece is very, very important to me, and particularly as I look at topics I'll talk about here like strategic deterrence and what have you, that it involves a Whole of Government approach to things. And consequently, although we have come a long way, I would say we still have a ways to go, and that's another part that I'm pleased to see lots of effort in that regard to, even without a Goldwater-Nichols Act Part Two.

So when I look at how far we've come, it's not just working with ourselves here in this country, it's also working with our allies, partners and friends. I just left Nebraska this morning, ahead of my dinner guests, and quite frankly the guy I was hosting all day yesterday, who was the Minister of Defense for Japan…a guy I had learned in my previous job as Pacific Fleet Commander, Minister of Defense Onodera who is also visiting this area today. But that goes to show you, as we work the business at US Strategic Command, we work it with our allies, partners, and friends, and not just Japan. In the timeframe I've come aboard as the Commander of US Strategic Command, we had the Chief of Defense for France, as well as for the Republic of Korea also come through -- a couple other nations that we work with.

And I have liaison officers from a variety of countries, as you would expect perhaps…United Kingdom, Australia, Denmark, and Canada that work hand in hand with me. And I actually have an ace from the Department of State, we call them POLADs for short, but political advisors that are on the Department of State payroll that come and work at combatant commands like US Strategic Command. And that individual, Phil Egger, is involved day in and day out in the work we do there, which shows you again the glue that exists amongst our organizations. I consider him my right hand man -- he's not relegated to just the plans and policy in what we call the J5 in our organization, but he works directly for me in that regard, which I'm much appreciate of.

So as you know, deterrence then in the 21st century requires a Whole of Government effort. We must be, and continue to look for innovative solutions in order to leverage our various elements of national power.

So, Secretary Gottemoeller, thank you so much for hosting this event. I think it is worthwhile, and it's just a pleasure to be here representing the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Civilians that work for me at US Strategic Command, and the associated subordinate commands that work for me.

You've had, as was mentioned, just a tremendous amount of talent that has come before me. Senators…Senator Murphy as mentioned; a good friend of mine Assistant Secretary of Defense Andy Weber who was here.

You've also had the opportunity to hear about dismantling the Syrian chemical weapons, a huge success for our International Community. And it was really unique to come back to US Strategic Command as Commander and know that they had had a part in working the requirements business for this unique apparatus that's on the Cape Ray, that ship that's out there doing the hydrolysis business today. But it's not just that piece, it's the international flavor of success that has occurred here.

And of course you heard from, I call him Lt Gen, retired, as well as undersecretary, Frank Klotz, here very recently. Knowing how passionate he is, it's always hard to follow his footsteps at the podium, but his discussion couldn't be more relevant today given the important work that our national labs and the National Nuclear Security Administration does in working with US Strategic Command in our endeavors associated with having a strategic stockpile that's safe, secure and effective.

And of course the group that was just up here, I can't say enough about them. I was a little worried here because I am your bookend, I am to understand for the day. And I said boy, to follow all that talent you've had I'd better bring something unique back from Nebraska--not just a report on the college World Series or Omaha Steaks, or some of that local beer -- yes they actually produce local beer out in Nebraska too.

I hope this speech continues the rich conversations you've had today here, as we talk about the importance of 21st century deterrence. So I'll start with my view of deterrence and how I see our strategic environment today, and then I will share with you some of what US Strategic Command does and how we fit into the deterrence equation.

So how do I view deterrence? As I hope you would expect deterrence is about influencing an adversary to not take action. It's about decisively influencing their decision making. It's about influencing their perceived costs and benefits of actions and their perceived costs and benefits of restraint. It requires the adversary, or potential adversary, to understand both the action from which he must refrain, and the unacceptable cost of non-restraint.

For many, the concept of deterrence is synonymous with nuclear deterrence--the idea that nuclear weapons will deter others from attacking with their nuclear weapons, because the cost associated with retaliation would be unbearable. But I would say today strategic deterrence is much broader. Strategic deterrence in the 21st century employs all the elements of national power -- diplomatic, informational, military, economic. The DIME, we sometimes take each one of those and simplify that, is employed and all tailored to specific adversaries or threats

Of course, none of that can happen without the significant intellectual effort. Every element of our national power is underwritten by the useful knowledge we have gained through education, analysis, and innovation, which is why I think it is so important that young professionals like you are here today. I can't say enough about the importance of professional education of our population in critical matters that contribute to understanding the importance and the ingredients of strategic stability, given today's strategic and security environment, the dynamics of this complex world stage and the trends for the future.

So five years ago, the President said in Prague, "the United States will take concrete steps towards a world without nuclear weapons" and that the US will "reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy."

But he also said "the threat of global nuclear war has gone down, but the risk of nuclear attack has gone up," and of course what was mentioned earlier as long as there are nuclear weapons, the United States will maintain a safe and secure arsenal to deter any adversary, and guarantee the defense of our allies.

So as we go through the discussion today, I hope you are asking yourselves such questions as:

oAre nuclear weapons still relevant today? You talked a little bit about that in the last panel…right?

oAre our associated treaties working?

oHow will we maintain a safe, secure and credible strategic capability in an era absent of nuclear testing?

oAnd how do space and cyber operations contribute to strategic deterrence? Just to name a few and I hope you're thinking about a few others here, of course, as I go through this presentation.

So, when you think about this, and I look at the great talent we have assembled here, I am thrilled that you would take time out for your day to think about strategic deterrence, something that my outfit is about day in, day out, 24/7.

Deterrence today is no longer based upon Mutual Assured Destruction between the United States and former Soviet Union. I think you know that, and it is not a continuation of the Cold War. While nuclear weapons will remain foundational to 21st century strategic deterrence and continue to play a vital role in deterring attacks on the United States from other countries armed with weapons of mass destruction, it is critical we understand that 21st century deterrence today is more than the nuclear part.

Today, we have multiple actors, operating in multiple environments, across multiple domains, capable of strategic attack using weapons of mass destruction, as well as I would say and you read about it a lot, cyber capabilities and something many don't think about, take for granted every day, space.

This creates tough challenges for the 21st century deterrence strategists and policy makers. First, we must develop methods and strategies for dealing with multiple state and non-state actors, each of which pose unique challenges. The motives for executing strategic attack differ for each adversary. The 21st century then requires a tailored approach that requires us to have an in-depth understanding of each potential adversary, their perceptions, their values, their fears, and their decision-making processes.

Second, state and non-state actors are capable of strategic attack simultaneously across multiple domains. It creates significant uncertainty. We must therefore be, I would argue, thoughtful in our approach to prepare for the future. It will require an innovative style that we can analyze an adversary's strategy through a range of scenarios, where we can anticipate potential outcomes with intended and unintended consequences. It must consider both the adversary and allied perceptions and sensitivities, and is why it's so important that we include our allies and our partners in frank discussions.

It was interesting last night having really deep conversation, for example, with Minister of Defense Onodera about some of the strategic issues he's concerned about and associated solutions. But it was good for a guy like me to be able to hear that right there at my dinner table in Nebraska, and this time I didn't have to fly all the way to Tokyo.

So as we move forward to reduce our nuclear arsenal, we must ensure that strategic deterrence and stability is not diminished by the reduction in numbers of weapons and warheads. So the good news is that there are numerous ongoing efforts, of studies that will help us reach the President's directions, even in this unique and challenging environment

For example, two key objectives in the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review describe the necessity to maintain strategic deterrence and stability at reduced force levels, while sustaining this safe and secure and effective nuclear arsenal. I know that 2010 Nuclear Posture Review was on the best seller list and you all have read it cover to cover…right? It is interesting because I've had multiple jobs where I picked it up, read it. In fact I was in earlier days part of the team actually scrutinizing the writing, and adding at least suggestions, and I pick it up even in this capacity periodically. I have it on my Kindle so that I can reread it, because you know it's already highlighted, and see just how applicable it is even though written for 2010. It's still en vogue. It's still one of our foundational documents for today.

And then you couple that, of course with what was mentioned, the New START Treaty, which is fully consistent with current US nuclear policies and provides significant transparency, as was mentioned, between the US and the Russian federation. And not just transparency, but the other piece is notifications of testing, and what have you, that are also critical as we confront strategic stability in the 21st century.

2014, okay, I've gone from 2010 to 2014 now, the Quadrennial Defense Review also defines nuclear deterrence as the ultimate protection against nuclear attack on the United States of America and that nuclear weapons will deter strategic attack on the homeland and provide the means for effective response should deterrence fail, clearly talking about extreme circumstances here. I bring that up because sometimes people would look at what is in my job jar and the forces that I lead and say are they relevant today?

So I'm going to shift over here and talk a bit about the strategic environment because that's an area that sometimes doesn't get a deep dive, and I won't be able to do it here in a short period of time, but I will share some of my observations with you.

As mentioned, the strategic environment is one in with threats and conflicts which could have strategic implications for the United States and the world we live in, characterized by Violent Extremist Organizations, significant regional unrest, protracted conflicts, budgetary stresses, competition for natural resources and the transition and diffusion of power among global and regional actors.

While terrorists remain the most direct threat to our nation -- particularly terrorism involving weapons of mass destruction -- we are also dealing with advances in state and non-state military capabilities across the air, sea, land, space domains, and as well cyberspace, that can all be tied together in the Electromagnetic Spectrum. The cost for entry, for example, in cyberspace is pretty cheap relative to the cost of entry you might say in space, which perhaps is why we read more about it today.

But nuclear powers continue to invest in long-term modernization of their strategic capabilities; some are doing so to replace older systems that have reached their end of life, while others are doing so in response of their perceived needs given their geopolitical situation. So instead of starting with the ones you would think I would start with, let's start with India.

Here's a country that's developing Intercontinental Ballistic Missile systems, extending their New Delhi missile range, while at the same time developing their ballistic missile submarine force capability.

What about their neighbor Pakistan? How many of you…a lot of you raised your hand about visiting Nebraska or living there…Pakistan, do I see a few hands? That's an interesting place too when you think about it that has nuclear weapons, but not just have those, they're developing and upgrading their capability for a full range of platforms including both ballistic missiles and cruise missiles.

And as you would expect me to talk about Russia, they've had a decade plus of modernization across each leg of their triad. In fact open source reporting recently has sighted sea trials of new ballistic missile submarine, testing of a new Air Launched Cruise Missile, and modernization of its intercontinental ballistic missile force. But not just fixed silo business, the part that perhaps could be more unnerving is the mobile missile developments that have been ongoing in that country, with more significant multiple reentry vehicle capability. So this is significant when you consider where they are and where will they be in perhaps in 2020 or 2030, with that type of capability.

And of course, if you have been monitoring the situation, as we talked in here about, Ukraine and Russia, Crimea, it was interesting during that, this crisis that they have also been busy exercising their strategic capability, not just the conventional capability that has the headlines. In fact, it wasn't just the intercontinental ballistic missile test that occurred early on during the Crimea crisis, but quite frankly if you had been paying attention on the eighth of May, for example, Russia conducted a major strategic force exercise involving significant nuclear forces and associated command and control, just six months from the last one. And I don't mean just moving it around. I mean demonstrating firing each part of their associated arsenal. And you say okay, am I giving you Top Secret information from US Strategic Command? Quite frankly not. This is all aired on something I think you all are very familiar with, YouTube, for example. And if you Google it you'll get it. You may require a Russian translator because it's not in the King's English. But it's there, and it's starts off with President Putin ordering the capability into action. So, we've seen also significant Russian strategic aircraft deployments in the vicinity of places like Japan, Korea, Guam and even our West Coast.

What about China? China continues to take advantage of their economic growth and also continues to modernize and grow its military and strategic forces, to include a more survivable road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile, enhancing their silo-based ICBMs, and developing new submarine capability. And it's interesting too, a lot of times when I'm doing forums like this I'll bring video that's straight off of the internet that shows you some very interesting video of their capability, including charts of where it perhaps could be pointed to.

And obviously North Korea has made the news quite a bit as you look over the last years of various provocational statements that have been made by its leader, while at the same time they have significant ambitions for developing nuclear capability, ballistic missile capability, etc. And what's more worrisome there, of course, is their proliferation ambitions that have in fact been demonstrated, that we have dealt with through a lot of diplomacy and what have you.

Time will tell with respect to Iran, but it is no secret with respect to their interest in nuclear weapons capability as they continue their ballistic missile program that could serve for a test for an ICBM. We remain hopeful that the efforts that are ongoing here with the P5+1 will have the desired effect.

So I paint that piece of some of the strategic environment to sort of encapsulate that as I go on. But of course, all of these countries, as well as numerous others around the globe, continue to invest in space and cyber space capabilities. The world's space assets, to include those of the United States, face a growing threat from adversaries, and while we still retain a strategic advantage there, potential adversaries are moving quickly in their development of disruptive and destructive counter-space capabilities.

In terms of cyber, while we have improved and increased our cyber-space capabilities, the worldwide cyber threat is growing in scale and sophistication, and the number of state and non-state actors targeting U.S. networks on a daily basis continues to go up. There is no shortage, of course, of headlines to intellectual property thefts, identity thefts, denial of service attacks. You may recall the cyber-attacks associated with Saudi Aramco and the S.A.N.D.S. casino that also made the news.

As we monitor these developments, we must not lose sight that some nation states and non-nation state actors continue to have goals of obtaining and proliferating weapons of mass destruction, and as long as these threats remain, so too does the value of our strategic capabilities to deter these threats, and of course, the assurance of our allies.

So, given that picture, I am sure you would agree with me that 21st century deterrence is complicated and challenging, and is vastly different than that of the Cold War. So how does US Strategic Command fit into this picture?

Well, as a combatant command, I am one of nine, and we are responsible for conducting military operations in certain regions of the world, but US Strategic Command is responsible for operations that span the globe. In fact a lot of times I like to advertise our capability goes from under the sea up to geo-synchronous orbit, when you add them all together. Pretty eye-watering for a submariner who spent most of my time under water, some days of the week.

We are also responsible for providing capabilities to the other combatant commands…such as Combatting Weapons of Mass Destruction, Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance, and Analysis and Targeting.

As a globally-focused Combatant Command, our responsibilities have evolved over the last decade in response, of course, to this ever changing security environment.

So the theme for this conference, associated with innovation and National Security, is music to the ears to those of us at US Strategic Command, because we're working hard with our other combatant commands, with the inter-agency, and of course with our allies and partners to do just that.

Every day we provide an array of global strategic capabilities to the joint military forces through our nine assigned Unified Command Plan missions; they include, as you would expect, Strategic Deterrence, but also space operations, cyberspace operations, joint electronic warfare, global strike, missile defense; intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance; combatting weapons of mass destruction, and analysis and targeting.

This diverse set of missions is what provides the foundation, I believe, for a credible and responsive 21st century strategic deterrent, to ultimately provide the President of the United States with options should deterrence fail. This includes a synthesis of dedicated space sensors that provide critical electronic warfare for bomber threats and missile launches, assured command and control, the triad of delivery systems, nuclear weapons and their associated infrastructure, the growing cyberspace capability, and of course, the main ingredient is, trained and ready people who do everything from strategic planning, and mission execution, and maintaining and sustaining our weapons and platforms, and associated with executing policy.

While I would love to talk to you about each of those particular mission areas and how they contribute to deterrence, I am going to focus, a little more pointedly on the nuclear triad, largely because it's an area that's misunderstand. But as I go there I do want to foot stomp one thing -- when you think about what the United States of America has as a strategic deterrent, know that it's bigger than the triad. It's about that sensing capability. In fact, I even say further to the left, the intelligence capability; we would like to know it well before something occurs. But sensing, so that if there is something that is launched anywhere on the globe, which we see per week, that we are able to take and move that information along our command and control apparatus such that decision making can occur.

So very quickly, any type of things that we sense like that are moved amongst our command and control centers, not just at US Strategic Command, but to various other locations in the country and other combatant commands. And then from that there's got to be a decisional assessment. Is it an attack on the United States of America? Is it an attack on one of our allies and partners? Is it something we expected to occur? Is it a surprise? And then of course, from that be able to be able to respond if required. So it requires sensing outer space, command and control, communications, and then of course that triad piece.

To emphasize its importance, just yesterday, Secretary of Defense Hagel visited Kings Bay, Georgia, where we have our ballistic missile submarines…some of our ballistic missile submarines stationed and there he reiterated strategic deterrence is one of his highest priorities in the fact that we have to maintain a safe, secure and effective strategic deterrent today.

For years, our national leaders have debated the best balance of attributes that make up that strategic deterrent, but as stated in the Nuclear Posture Review and reemphasized in the U.S. Nuclear Weapons Employment Planning Guidance, retaining all three legs of the triad will best maintain strategic stability at reasonable cost, while hedging against potential technical problems or vulnerabilities. It's a mouthful, but I thought it would be important for me to articulate it here.

In other words, each element of the nuclear triad provides unique and complementary attributes of strategic deterrence, providing risk management against pre-emptive strikes, failure of a single warhead or delivery systems, targeted investment against a single leg, and uncertainty in the strategic environment that I just mentioned.

So as I look at intercontinental ballistic missiles and their responsive capability and resiliency, to the survivable leg of our submarine capability, to the heavy bombers -- the real key is the integration of all three that make a difference in the deterrence equation for any country that would want to take us on to extreme circumstances. And it works.

We just had the 149th, 150th successful launch in validating the submarine leg of the triad here recently. We've had demonstrations of our bombers, and it's amazing to me when you think of the B-52 bomber -- 1962 was when the "H" version came off the line that we're flying today. So it's 50 plus years old and even the B-2 you hear about is 24 years old. So we get our mileage out of these things as we build them.

So what does the future hold here in strategic deterrence? I think I've talked about it a bit here as I've gone forward, because as you can tell here from the strategic environment, while we work to have a nuclear free weapons world, nuclear weapons still have a role in the strategic deterrent business, and I would say foundational for us right now until we can get rid of them all in the world. But we must continue to lean forward with current Arms Control Agreements, while continuing to provide assurance and extended deterrence to our allies and partners. As a nation we must create strategy and policies to deal with this diverse, multi-disciplinary problem world we live in, because we have to deliver strategic stability and effective solutions in a cost conscious manner, given today's fiscal environment.

So, it will be incumbent on young leaders, such as yourselves, to challenge traditional thinking, and I think from what I could hear in the questions that were asked earlier here you're doing a bit of that, and to use your intellectual capabilities, your unique perspective and educational experiences to continue to find innovative solutions to this important area of strategic stability. To be able to create analytical tools, that will help us to anticipate adversary intentions, analyze regional trends, assess potential outcomes and improve our decision-making processes and transform the way we think in the 21st century.

You know one of the unique things we opened up here recently, at US Strategic Command, was a war gaming center. And the neat part of the war gaming center, you know in the old way it was almost like a chess match where you had, you know you'd look at one-dimensional aspect, but today the real key to this one is being able to look at it in multi-dimension disciplined ways and be able to run through iterations etc. while at the same time, integrating a very diverse group, to make sure we're red teaming it the right way, we're thinking about it and being able to look at the bands of possibilities…and run through it a zillion times to be able to analyze possibilities, so that as we do spend national treasure, as we look to the future we can make sure it's effective as we can in terms of solutions. And this is not one we do by ourselves, quite frankly. At US Strategic Command the real key to our success is working with our inter-agency partners and having them as part of the process.

So in conclusion, I just want to thank you all for quite frankly listening to me here today, inviting me, quite frankly, and just a few final thoughts. Successful 21st century deterrence lies in our understanding that this is not about a Cold War approach. It is about understanding that deterrence is more than nuclear…although our nuclear weapons are just as salient today as they have been in the past. And its understanding that what our adversaries value and what they are willing to risk requires a real deep, deep understanding of those adversaries. And it's about understanding as we draw down, the importance of having a safe, secure, effective, but also credible strategic deterrent. And while total deterrence against any particular adversary is never guaranteed, I am confident today that our strategic deterrent efforts are working and will deter strategic attack against the United States and its Allies.

I am equally confident as I look around this room at the talent and intellect represented here…that our future will be secure due to your interests, whether you're in the non-proliferation spectrum, whether you're working DOE in terms of the physics, Bessel functions, what have you, or if you're working the business of the intellectual piece of strategic deterrent -- all important to our nation going forward

It requires the synergy and collaboration between our various agencies. We must glue our efforts into a Whole of Government approach, and we must encompass both hard and soft powers to have an effective 21st century strategic deterrent.

So, let me end by saying, just as the President ended his speech in Prague, because I'd rather not try to reinvent it, I rather just state it "…let us honor our past by reaching for a better future. Let us bridge our divisions, build upon our hopes, accept our responsibility to leave this world more prosperous and more peaceful than we found it. And together we can..."

Thank you and I welcome your questions!