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SPEECH | Jan. 28, 2014

SCC-WMD Conference

As Prepared for Delivery

Thank you, Ken, for that kind introduction and the opportunity to join you for this Weapons of Mass Destruction Global Synchronization Conference. I would like to take a moment to highpoint Ken's leadership before we get started; first for getting this conference back in action again, but also for his fortuitous foresight that he picked today for the conference, knowing CAPE-MAY would be underway. When you look at the span of work that had to be done to get to this point I can't thank you, and your team, enough for your efforts. As we push forward in this tremendous effort, I also like to remind folks that all the planning and getting the ship underway was only step one. Now the execution part follows. It will continue to be hard work, but it's certainly good to be where we are today.

It's also great to be in this facility again. I can't thank the NGA and Tish Long enough for hosting us in this very classy facility. I would like to salute, what we call in the nuclear propulsion business, the full power line up here today, not just in terms of speakers, but also in terms of the folks in the audience supporting this very important mission set. I know Dr. Sherwood-Randall will provide some comments-it's sure great to have her talent here today. I pass my thanks to a good friend and colleague, Assistant Secretary of Defense Andy Weber who will participate in discussions throughout the day.

We have a group here, led by retired Senator Hart, called the Threat Reduction Advisory Committee, which has conducted some major league push-ups over the last few years. Senator Hart I thank you, Sir, for your leadership of that group. I would like to recognize Ambassador Lehman, Mr. Frank Miller, and all the flags and SES's who have cleared their busy schedules to be here today. I would also like to point out Admiral Dave Kriete who joins me from Strategic Command, and who is here with a good portion of his team. He is the deputy JS, plans and policy shop, and has been instrumental in our planning efforts. I would be remiss if I didn't say that you can't do this type of work without our Allies, Partners, and friends ... so it's good to have Canada and the United Kingdom represented here.

Finally, I thank all of you, for taking time out of your days to participate in this "synchronization." We're all in this fight together and we can't succeed unless we work together. This forum is especially important when you consider that the topic of Weapons of Mass Destruction has had public attention for many years. When I returned to Offutt as the commander of US Strategic Command and asked how the synchronization efforts were going, I was dismayed to learn progress had slowed down. It has taken a long time to get this conference back on track, and we really cannot afford to do this only once or twice a year, although our budgets will tell us otherwise.

Given the complexity of this mission, it's therefore very important we continue the dialogue following the end of this "synchronization" conference, and that our efforts become part of a continuum.

The Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction mission has never been more important or relevant than it is today. Since the end of the Cold War, there have been at least 18 seizures of nuclear material around the world. Loose nuclear material is a significant concern, as violent extremists and terrorist organizations seek to acquire it. As stated in the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review, the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction continues to undermine global security.

As you know, recent years have provided us a number of real-world examples. We have made huge progress toward challenges in Syria, and we continue to work improvements in the safety and security of Libyan chemical weapons storage facilities. Regional tensions continue to exist due to the nuclear ambitions of countries like Iran and North Korea. It is also interesting to note that last year a North Korean flagged ship was caught in Panama, bearing a significant number of missiles and other arms destined for Cuba. Just imagine if that scenario had been different, had that ship been carrying containers filled with chemical weapons and/or biological agents. I shudder to think!

Those types of scenarios have made me both thankful and impressed with the progress made in several areas, by our collective community. I have a couple of areas I would like to highlight. First, it doesn't seem that long ago we stood up the Standing Joint Force Headquarters for Elimination. I remember us working on the planning for that during my earlier tour at Strategic Command. It reached Initial Operating Capability in September of 2012, after reaching a major milestone during the Ulchi Freedom Guardian 2012 exercise in South Korea. I am also sure most of you know it's currently under the leadership of Major General Lucas Polakowski. Please stand up so people can see you and know who you are.

The second area of progress I would like to highlight is Strategic Command's successful submission of the first Joint Emergent Operational Needs statement that enabled the rapid development of a deployable "sea-based" hydrolysis system designed to neutralize Syrian chemical stockpiles, providing flexible support, and is en-route to the Mediterranean as I speak.

I was also pleased to come back and see we've stood up the University Affiliated Research Center, or UARC as we like to call it. They will be looking at some very hard problems, using an "out of the box thinking" type approach. For example, they will conduct research to help understand the adversary's ability to use cyber to proliferate and potentially employ Weapons of Mass Destruction materials, technology and expertise. Think about preventing an attack on a civilian chemical plant. Another example includes research to look for new approaches to protect our warfighters from nerve agents. As we look to the future we have a responsibility to be prepared, and to do this we must continue to look at the requirements. To do so, we must exercise regularly and we must synchronize our efforts globally.

As with all the different sets of global responsibilities under U.S. Strategic Command's cognizance, the Unified Command Plan drives our approach in fulfilling the Combating of Weapons of Mass Destruction mission set. It states that Strategic Command is responsible for the synchronization and planning efforts in coordination with the other Combatant Commands, services, and as directed appropriate government agencies.

In response, Strategic Command led the Department of Defense effort that resulted in the DoD Global Campaign Plan 8099 for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction and subsequent development with the Geographical Combatant Commands for the XX99 plans. I have a few points I want to make here.

First, as we implement these plans, we must take time to identify and understand what gaps and seams have been left unaddressed. We must also look at how we transition from deliberate planning to Crisis Action Planning, should and if the need occurs.

A second point I want to make is that now these plans are in place, it is imperative we apply the same amount of effort in our "assessments" as we did in our planning. We must not confuse implementation as an end of the process--we must keep these plans as living docs.

A final point in this area is that as we deal with real-world Weapons of Mass Destruction crisis events such as those in Libya and Syria, we must remain vigilant because we don't know where and when the next event will require a real target effort in Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction. For example, we don't know if the next event will cross geographical Areas of Responsibility boundaries, either by loose material on the move, or exported by terrorist networks. The beauty of this set of new plans is they create the capability for us to look at the problems from a common framework to reduce an adversary's ability to exploit the Geographical Combatant Commander's seams.

I might be the first to admit that 8099 and XX99 are not panaceas to solving our Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction problem set but I do believe they are a significant step forward in getting our team from the Geographical Combatant Commands, other elements of our Department of Defense, and our interagency to work toward common objectives.

While stories about success continue to be worked, we must also be our own biggest critics. As we look at what is going on in Syria, we must ask ourselves do we have the capabilities to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction, or was this really an adhoc approach to an uncertain world? You can be assured that I will continue to work at my level to ensure we have the appropriate support.

As some of you may know, before he left office, Deputy Secretary of Defense Dr. Carter signed out a memorandum that said, "The Department of Defense must remain flexible, globally responsive, and retain an appropriate distribution of Combating of Weapons of Mass Destruction capabilities, across all the Military Services, as we implement the recommendations of the fiscal year 2014 to 2018 Defense Planning Guidance-directed study on Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction Force Posture."

As you can see, this mission area has the attention of some of our most senior leaders, and just a few of the recommended options for the way forward include a) efforts to restructure Army CBRN forces to be more globally responsive and regionally engaged, b) to provide support to Geographical Combatant Commands with flexible options to rapidly locate and secure "uncontrolled" Weapons of Mass Destruction, and c) to ensure our EOD Weapons of Mass Destruction search and identification capabilities are globally responsive.

So it's now up to us to move forward with these efforts, and perhaps one way is to understand some of the lessons learned from both our work and contingency efforts we've had to date.

So let me go through a few of those.

The first lesson to highlight is the need for an implicit understanding that synchronization must be a comprehensive Department of Defense, Whole of Government, and international partnership effort. We learned from our efforts in Syria that we needed key players from multiple geographic and functional combatant commands, Defense Agencies, OSD, the Joint Staff, the National Security Staff, multiple international organizations and of course our partners.

Synchronization is not just a buzzword; it's a concrete complex requirement that requires extensive effort. We need an effective, steady-state synchronization effort that's greater than this Global Synchronization Conference, to include cooperation with our critical global partners. You can be assured that US Strategic Command will continue to work with you as we move forward with these efforts.

The second lesson learned is that although US Strategic Command provides the foundation for planning, we cannot drive the entire Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction community; we must work in close coordination with all of our partners. The real-world examples mentioned earlier really show how we must work together, because most of our interactions will cross multiple Geographical Combatant Commands and government agencies.

Lesson #3 focuses on the need to "exercise" synchronization. The Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction campaign is a steady-state plan that addresses shaping of the environment and contingency planning. We must exercise synchronization on a periodic basis, particularly the CWMD scenarios at the senior leader level, with our interagency and international partners. Participants in a recent SOCOM senior seminar examined a scenario that required an agile response, involving all elements of national power, and provided a great example of what we must continue to do as we look at addressing this threat in the future.

During lunch, I will discuss initiatives to further explore these synchronization issues and the role we can play in facilitating DoD-level Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction exercises, to tease out these kinds of command, control and coordination issues.

My second to last point is we must accurately assess progress. Two years ago this conference focused on building a Department of Defense Global Campaign Plan for Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction; now we are ready for the next step--assessing our progress. I'm very excited about that, and I'm looking forward to this work together, in particular with the joint staff and other combatant commands as we work this through some of your other organizations. I ask for your help to further develop the assessment methodology.

Finally, we must work to improve our intelligence collection with an end goal of implementing a mechanism that will increase our ability to fuse large amounts of information in a meaningful manner that, at the end of the day, will adequately support the needed indications and warnings. Now I admit that's quite a mouthful, but when I look at why we are often surprised, I know we must continue our work in this effort.

In closing we must continue to support this effort even as we work through sequestration and budget reductions, because as stated in the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review and the President's speech in Berlin, one of the most concerning scenarios is dealing with Weapons of Mass Destruction falling in the wrong hands or proliferating to the extent we have additional nation states with this capability. Our progress and successes to date are directly related to your efforts. But we must ask ourselves at the end of the day are we doing enough in this area?

Last night as I was browsing the internet to get my daily "news fix," I came across a video on CNN that I'm told was produced and moved by an Islamic Militant group aligned with AI-Qaeda.

In this video you see an individual with a Surface to Air Missile launcher and a helicopter flying in the background. This individual lines up his missile launcher, presumed to be an SA-7, and in rampant successions he shoots the missile, takes out the helicopter, and kills five Egyptian soldiers. It was postulated this missile launcher was looted during the Libya unrest, but just suppose that missile launcher was tipped with a Weapon of Mass Destruction? As I was watching that news clip and thinking about this conference, I couldn't help but imagine what a WMD event would do to the world at large, especially as we look back at 9/11.