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SPEECH | Jan. 22, 2016

Center for a New American Security

(As prepared)

Adm. Cecil D. Haney, U.S. Strategic Command Commander: Well, good morning everyone. Ms. Flournoy thanks for that very kind introduction, and I especially appreciate you taking the time to be here with us this morning. It is certainly an honor to be here at CNAS - at this prestigious think tank that you co-founded with Dr. Kurt Campbell almost nine years ago.

As I’ve heard you say in other fora, CNAS has dedicated itself to shaping the national security debate, as well as growing the next generation of national security leaders. I salute the continued focus on global challenges, for the events you host, including this one, and for the outstanding publications you produce.

I would also like to acknowledge Bridge Colby and his efforts in spearheading today’s discussion on space and space deterrence, and for not cancelling due the prediction of just a little snow.

It’s wonderful to see such a diverse audience, from government, to industry and academia.

It’s also great to see a few of our military fellows sitting in the audience. I appreciate what CNAS does to foster military education, which is so important to our future.

As the United States Strategic Command commander - and throughout my career - I have spent a fair amount of time talking with the soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and civilians I lead. I encourage them to have questioning attitudes. You would be surprised at the level of questions I receive from the strategic forces.

I value the discussion and the diversity of thought and approaches to solving the issue at hand. I know that it has made me a better leader and that I have made better decisions as a result of those many discussions along the way.

Seeing some familiar faces out there, I know that I won’t have to encourage this group to have questions. Know that I value your thoughts. While we may not come to consensus, I hope that we will all leave here feeling intellectually stimulated, and your presence indicates your interest, and your willingness to be a part of this incredibly important discussion

What a great opportunity to talk about

  • The growing threat environment as it relates to space
  • The role of space in our deterrence strategy and
  • Some of U.S. Strategic Command’s ongoing efforts to solve some of the challenges we face in space

Having commanded U.S. Strategic Command for a little over two years now, I’m happy to tell you that we’ve made significant progress in how we view space as a “critical capability,” and I am not just talking about watching “Star Wars” and “The Martian.”

Paraphrasing Secretary of the Air Force Deborah James who spoke as CSIS last week - she said we need to start treating space the way we treat everything else in the military. We need to get our heads around the fact that a future conflict may bleed into space.

With that come tremendous opportunities to address the many challenges we face, not just in space, but also in our global security environment. Let me talk about that just a little bit.

It’s interesting to think back to the early 1990s and how we thought about space. In fact, when asked about his “area of responsibility,” a former combatant commander for space is oft reported to have responded, “Space is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely mind-bogglingly big it is.”

Today, this characterization of space from the "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" seems to be amiss. The truth is, in relative terms, earth-centric space is quite small.

Once thought of as a sanctuary, space is more congested, contested, and competitive than ever, and it is becoming increasingly vulnerable. Other nations understand our reliance on space and the advantages we have reaped in defense and commercial sectors.

Adversaries and potential adversaries want to exploit those dependencies by turning them into vulnerabilities. Simply put, the threats are real and are evolving faster than we probably ever imagined. Irresponsible acts in space can have damaging consequences for all space-faring and space-dependent nations.

The ability of adversaries to conduct hostile operations in space presents a multifaceted space challenge, and potentially threatens national sovereignty and survival. This is a particular concern to me as the combatant commander responsible for space, to include how critical our space capabilities are to my foundational nuclear deterrent mission, in addition to my other assigned missions.

Therefore, building capability, capacity, and resilience in our space assets and architecture is a top priority, particularly as we consider how deeply integrated space is in our everyday lives.

Today there are more than 60 nations operating in space, and we can only expect that number to continue growing. Similarly, we can expect the number of nations who may wish to deny the peaceful use of space to also increase.

Adversaries and potential adversaries are developing, and in some cases demonstrating, disruptive and destructive counterspace capabilities. Furthermore, they are exploiting what they perceive as space vulnerabilities - threatening the vital, national, civil, scientific, and economic benefits to the U.S. and the global community.

More specifically, Russia’s 2010 military doctrine emphasized space as a crucial component of its defense strategy, and Russia has publicly stated they are researching and developing counterspace capabilities to degrade, disrupt, and deny other users of space. Russia’s leaders also openly assert that Russian armed forces have anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons, conduct ASAT research, and employ satellite jammers.

Last year, the Washington Times reported Russian President Putin as saying that Russia, following the Chinese military, is building state-of-the-art weapon that would “guarantee [for] Russia the fulfillment of space defense tasks for the period until 2020.”

China, like Russia, has advanced “directed energy” capabilities that could be used to track or blind satellites, and like Russia, has demonstrated the ability to perform complex maneuvers in space.

According to the 2015 Annual Report to Congress, “China has the most rapidly maturing space program in the world.” In September of last year, China successfully launched a new rocket carrying 20 micro-satellites -- a record number for China.

In November, China conducted its sixth test of a hypersonic strike vehicle, and several news sources reported an ASAT the previous month. Of course, many of us are still dealing with China’s 2007 ASAT test, which created more than 3,000 pieces of debris, adding significantly to the congested space environment. Well over 80 percent of this debris, which litters one of the most utilized areas of space, will affect space flight for many decades to come.

While North Korea has obviously been demonstrating nuclear tests and making claims about their miniaturized warhead capabilities, press reports also indicate they have been busy upgrading their launch facilities with claims of readying for future satellite launches.

It’s not just these nation states. The increasing globalization of space also provides opportunities to violent extremist organizations - from the ability to access, use and encrypt communications to leveraging global navigation aids for their benefit.

Clearly, these trends are of importance to the international community, space-faring nations, and the U.S. at large.

While I won’t go through the many other security concerns, the reality is that the strategic environment I just described is much more complicated. In addition to planning for space operations in a contested, degraded and operationally limited environment, we must consider the integrated nature of space in conventional, cyber, and nuclear operations.

As our Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Dunford, has said, we must view today’s threats in the context of trans-regional, multi-domain, and multi-functional.

We must be able to maintain situational awareness of it all, act where necessary, and as stated in the 2010 Space Policy, preserve the space environment.

To effectively deter adversaries, and potential adversaries, from threatening our space capabilities, we must view deterrence holistically.

Threats must be surveyed across the “spectrum of conflict,” where escalation may occur with more than one adversary and in multiple domains.

Whether we are deterring aggression in space, cyberspace, or nuclear - our actions and capabilities must make clear that no adversary will gain the advantage they seek in space, or in any domain; that they cannot escalate their way out of a failed conflict, and that restraint is always the better option.

So how do we deter our adversaries, to maintain a safe, stable and secure space environment, in a world where deterrence depends on the situation and one size never fits all?

First, we must have a deeper, broader understanding of our adversaries, and potential adversaries. No matter the foe, we must understand their capability and intent, so that we can deny enemy action, hold critical nodes at risk, and prevent perceptions, misperceptions and actions from escalating.

Second, we must view and fund space as a critical mission capability vs. an enabler. Our sensors, command and control systems, and Space Situational Awareness capabilities underpin our ability to maintain awareness. These resources are vital to the decision-making process and supporting forces around the globe.

Third, we must look at our military capabilities in a holistic manner, and fully integrate them into our other elements of national power. We must have a whole of government approach, and include our allies, partners and commercial entities, where appropriate.

Finally, we must increase readiness across the arena of strategic capabilities: nuclear, space, and cyberspace (although for today’s purpose, I will only talk about space.)

Now while this synopsis may appear daunting, know that U.S. Strategic Command is working hard to ensure we maintain the strategic advantages we enjoy in space today. We are approaching these through

  • Increased awareness
  • Implementing some readiness initiatives
  • Organizing ourselves to address the threat
  • Advocating for the right investments and
  • Working to change the culture and approach

Recognizing an evolving and diverse space environment -- and a need to preserve access in space -- it is imperative we work with and leverage our key allies and partners to increase situational awareness in space.

We must know where objects are in space, who owns them, and what capabilities they represent. This also means working closely with the intelligence community, so that we can also characterize pre-and post-launch events, and discriminate hostile and non-hostile actions.

To improve our ability to see and understand the domain, we are working on several new capabilities, both in low earth orbit and geosynchronous orbit.  To enhance our capability of tracking objects in low earth orbit, our Space Fence program will work in conjunction with the rest of our space surveillance network to provide the Joint Space Operations Center or JSpOC, (led by Lt. Gen. David Buck), an integrated picture of the joint operating environment, providing significantly improved un-cued space surveillance capabilities.

To further refine space situational awareness, we are relocating a C-Band radar to Australia - in order to provide low earth orbit coverage in the Southern altitudes. 

A major advance in geosynchronous space surveillance was the declaration of IOC of the Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program that is providing improved situational awareness out to 22,000 miles. 

In addition to reducing the probability of a space collision, these satellites also improve our capability to rapidly detect, warn, characterize, and attribute disturbances to space systems in the geosynchronous environment. These satellites also have the capability to perform enabling characterization, enhanced surveillance, and enhanced orbital predictions. 

These are just a few of our initiatives, and while space situational awareness is an extremely important part of what we do, we cannot do it alone.

To that end, U.S. Strategic Command has implemented an updated sharing approach to provide higher quality information of both hostile and non-hostile threats. This sharing paradigm fosters the responsible use of space by promoting transparency, enhancing spaceflight safety, and enabling exchange-focused relationships.

For example, last month, we signed an agreement with Spain to share space, services, and data, making them the tenth nation to participate in sharing agreements with the United States. We have also signed agreements with 51 commercial entities representing 18 nations.

Additionally, with the threat from orbital debris increasing, last year my JSpOC, notified more than 620 owners and operators from 245 distinct organizations of close conjunctions.  They also received confirmation of 152 collision avoidance maneuvers, including four involving the International Space Station, and they continue to issue about 40 emergency-reportable collision-warning notifications per day.

Some of you may recall the news of a Russian rocket body reentering the atmosphere over North America last month. Dave Buck and his team closely tracked this event, notified the appropriate leadership, and ensured the safety of the population by doing so.

Frankly, the reentry could have occurred over any country in the world and our actions would have been largely the same, but this is just one of the many examples of the great work done by Gen Buck and his Joint Space Operations Center team.

To further improve defense space coordination of efforts, enhance individual and collective space capabilities, and expand military-to-military relationships to address challenges, we also have a number of allies and partners working in the Joint Space Operations Center.

This concept of combined space operations in space seeks to empower partner nations, and is an important step in strengthening deterrence, enhancing resiliency, optimizing resources, and improving space mission assurance.

As mentioned, to effectively deal with the space threats we face today, we must have ready forces. Make no mistake: As stated in the 2011 National Security Space Strategy,...“the U.S. will retain the right and capabilities to respond in self-defense should deterrence fail” and “we will use force in a manner that is consistent with longstanding principals of international laws [and] treaties...”

I am proud to tell you that U.S. Strategic Command is a ready force, capable of delivering comprehensive warfighting solutions for our commander in chief, should deterrence fail. Should we need to respond, we will respond proportionally, using all elements of our national power, and that response will occur at a time, domain, and place of our choosing.

To maintain our advantage and competitive edge in space we have several initiatives in progress ensuring our forces are properly manned, trained, and equipped. In military parlance, that is to ensure our forces are ready.

First, we’re going to increase the experience and training of our space operators. Under General Hyten’s leadership, starting this spring, much of the day staff at Schreiver AFB will cease to exist and a Space Mission Force will be stood up. Essentially, two sets of crews will alternate between conducting the mission and training to address high-end threats, similar to our deployment construct with regards to other domains.

General Hyten is also taking a hard look at space in terms of an “enterprise of capabilities” approach. He truly understands the needs of the warfighter and the importance of having a Common Operating Picture.

He is investing a lot of effort to figure out how our “stove piped” satellite terminals can “talk” to each other. This effort is to improve our ability to more efficiently command and control our assets, as well as provide a clearer picture of the operating environment to the warfighter and our decision makers.

One of the ways we are modernizing command and control is through the Joint Space Operations Center Mission System, or JMS. One of the long-term goals for JMS is a built in Battle Management command and control system that will provide space situational awareness to the other component commanders, the task force commanders, the intelligence community, and our data-sharing partners.

In terms of the satellites, Gen. Hyten is also looking for innovative solutions to make our current architecture more resilient and more survivable, with an increased ability to operate in a contested environment.

Future initiatives must build in resiliency and survivability - whether that’s through disaggregation, smaller, less complex satellites, or real-time command and control.

To aid with resiliency, and in an effort to make this domain observable, we have incorporated modeling and simulating capabilities in our War Game Center at U.S. Strategic Command. Since we opened the center in June 2014, we have hosted more than a dozen senior leader events that have looked at a variety of issues, including space policy and authorities, informed decision-making at the strategic and operational levels, and how we can best control escalation in conflicts with potential adversaries.

However, war gaming is just that - it is war gaming. To increase unity of effort, improve processes, and ensure fusion of data between the DoD, the Intelligence Community, the interagency, as well as our allies and partners, we needed an environment where we could develop ideas on how best to counter threats that could then be tested in a benign environment.

I’m sure most in this room are aware that we recently stood up a Joint Interagency Combined Space Operations Center (or otherwise known as JICSpOC), located at Schriever AFB.

The JICSpOC represents a fundamental step forward in ensuring the U.S. outpaces emerging and advancing space threats. It will improve our processes and procedures in space operations, boost our ability to fuse the operations of our space systems and intelligence date real-time, and will enhance the nation’s deterrent posture by demonstrating the U.S. is prepared should an adversary threaten our space capabilities.

While we still have a significant way to go, I am delighted with how far this innovative solution has come. I can’t tell you much of what we are doing due to classification of its operations, but we are experimenting high velocity learning as we experiment in an environment with seamless participation of the DoD and intelligence community.

To keep in line with how the U.S. is getting after maintaining a strategic advantage in space, we are also changing our joint doctrine, so that it more effectively supports national decision making and space command and control.

We are fundamentally changing how we view space and are moving from a concept of “how does space support the joint fight” to “how do we assure space operations through all phases of conflict, in support of the joint fight.”

This includes updating operational space plans to stay ahead of evolving threats, and developing a Space Play Book, that provides guidance on how to command and control space forces in a contested environment.

All of these efforts, however, will only work if we are properly organized. To get at this, last year we stood up the Joint Space Doctrine and Tactics Forum, chaired by Ms. Betty Sapp, the Director of the National Reconnaissance Office and me.

Having Ms. Sapp’s leadership emphasizes the foundational role that intelligence plays in detecting and characterizing threats to increase space collaboration and coordination between the DoD and the Intel Community. To date, we’ve had some very candid discussions on how to best synchronize our efforts and identify gaps in our capabilities to facilitate our long-term investments and associated solutions.

Thanks in part to the White House and the Congress for their tremendous support, following the 2014 Pentagon Space Strategic Portfolio Review, more than $5.5 billion was reprogrammed across the defense and intelligence apparatus to transform U.S. space capabilities to sustain operations through all phases of conflict.

I was encouraged by the budget for FY 16 for two reasons. One because it allows continued focus on developing technologies to

  • deter and defeat effort to attack our space systems;
  • enable indications, warning and attribution of such attacks
  • enhance resiliency of critical space capabilities

Two, resourcing these vital capabilities has a deterrence value and sends a strong message to those contemplating actions that threaten the U.S., our allies and partners. They must understand they will not achieve benefit without significant cost.

I am certainly glad to see the gathering momentum, but I remain focused on ensuring we maintain it and the ability and agility required to respond to threats in a timely manner. Keeping this momentum becomes more challenging the longer we live under the umbrella of sequestration.

As we wait for the FY17 President’s Budget to be released, we must be cognizant that any retrograde to investments in space will diminish our asymmetric advantages, exposing our nation to significant risk in this foundational area.

At the end of the day, we must ensure that we deter conflict from extending to outer space. As threats evolve, we must continue to look for additional investments in the space portfolio. We simply cannot risk denied access to a domain that is so vital to U.S. national security.

We must have assured access to space such that we can function through a multi-layered approach, through all phases of conflict.

As Secretary Bob Work said last year, “Space is deeply enmeshed in our force structure and is central to our way of deterring, assuring and warfighting.”

While we cannot be complacent in facing challenges in space, know that every action we collectively take in space today will help us peacefully assure the right to access space for years to come.

The good news is that we have stellar folks. As I travelled to places such as Dahlgren, Peterson, Vandenberg, and Hawaii, or as far away as Australia and Greenland, I witnessed their passion, and I am proud of each and every one of them.

I will stop here and take a few of your questions. I want to thank you all again for your time this morning. As the combatant commander responsible for space, I cannot stress enough how important it is that we are having this discussion.