An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.


SPEECH | April 14, 2016

32nd Space Symposium

(As prepared)

Adm. Cecil D. Haney, U.S. Strategic Command Commander: Well, good morning. Elliot thanks for that very kind introduction. I was looking to see if you were wearing those Rebel Alliance cuff links you were showing off during opening ceremonies on Monday. While I would have liked to wear mine, the Empire, I mean the U.S. Navy would probably not appreciate that.

I do want to thank you for your leadership of the Space Foundation and for hosting this critically important forum. You have brought together a wonderfully diverse audience of intellectuals that include operators, strategists, industry and academia to discuss issues related to one of my top mission areas − space operations.

Hollywood has done a fair job of keeping our population aware of the complexity of operations in, or associated with, the space domain, through movies such as “Star Wars,” “ET,” “Men in Black,” “Gravity,” and “The Martian.”

I was thrilled to hear that Andy Wier, the author of “The Martian,” received a Space Foundation award for his public outreach. Likewise, I have found that many I come across have read the book, “Ghost Fleet,” which also warns us of what future challenges in space might look like.

While those movies and books do not perfectly replicate the space environment, they certainly illustrate the vulnerable nature of space, and the speeds with which catastrophic events can occur. They provided a unique perspective of space to millions of viewers.

Flashing back in our history, isn’t it interesting that 35 years ago, today, the first space shuttle Columbia returned to Earth after three days in space and 36 orbits. This monumental achievement clearly contributed to the foundation for many of the technical advances we see in space today − technical advances that we must now be prepared to defend.

If you saw Gen. Hyten’s opening video Tuesday, you certainly would have a perspective about what would happen if our troops in harm’s way were impacted by a loss of space capabilities.

Now, I know over the last couple of days you have heard a lot about the threats in space, so I won’t repeat what has already been said. Just know that as the combatant commander responsible for space operations, Russia and China trends and public statements regarding countering our space capabilities have my attention. Even as we’ve seen in open press, North Korea has recently been jamming GPS and even has launched a satellite in space − yet again.

Iran is also building an indigenous space program. Equally concerning to me is the increasing proliferation of space-based technologies providing opportunities to violent extremist organizations − from the ability to access, use and encrypt communications to leveraging global navigation aids for their benefit.

Understand that our space capabilities are not only foundational to my nuclear deterrent mission and other assigned missions, they are critical to our warfighters who operate across the globe.

These crucial space assets allow military commanders to see the battlespace with clarity, strike with precision, navigate with accuracy, communicate with certainty, understand weather impacts and operate with assurance over global distances.

While the U.S. and our allies continue to push for the peaceful use of this global commons and preserve the space environment, the reality is that we have come to a point where we must recognize that despite our efforts, a future conflict may start, or extend, into space.

With that backdrop this morning, I will focus my comments on how we must view space in our overall deterrence strategy, and on some of U.S. Strategic Command’s ongoing efforts to solve challenges we face in space and some of the hurdles we must overcome to get better.

While our 2010 National Space Policy charges us with deterring others from interference and attack, and if deterrence fails, defeating those efforts that would threaten our space systems, the 2015 National Security Strategy specifies that we “will also develop technologies and tactics to deter and defeat efforts to attack our space systems; enable indications, warning, and attributions of such attacks; and enhance the resiliency of critical U.S. space capabilities.”

Let me start with deterrence.

So, how do we deter potential adversaries and maintain a safe, stable and secure space environment? This requires a comprehensive and integrated approach to deterrence.

First, threats must be addressed 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 the nuclear arena, our actions including messaging 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.

Second, we must have a deeper, broader understanding of our adversaries, and potential adversaries. 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.

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

Fourth, we must have an approach that includes collaboration and partnership with our interagency, as well as our allies, partners and commercial entities.

Finally, we must have deterrence plans with objectives that are tailored to specific actors, nation states and regions because one specific approach will be less effective given how complex the world is today. This also requires multi-domain solutions vice deterring in a single domain.

Given that deterring strategic attack is my top priority, know that USSTRATCOM in conjunction with many of our partners in this room, is working hard to ensure we maintain the strategic advantages we enjoy in space today.

Let me provide you a snapshot of some of our ongoing efforts.

First, to preserve access in space we must have improved dynamic situational awareness. This includes better foundational intelligence to give us the necessary indications and warning, even before an adversary engages in counterspace activities.

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

Some may have heard Gen. Hyten say in a previous forum that I wasn’t happy with where we are with our ability to see, characterize and understand the domain. He’s right, I’m not happy. Given the threats we are facing in space, we must get better.

The good news is the space community is delivering new capabilities.

For example, to enhance our ability to track objects in low and medium earth orbit, our Space Fence program will work in conjunction with the rest of our space surveillance network to provide an integrated picture of the joint operating environment.

We are also relocating a C-Band radar and space surveillance telescope to Australia in order to provide low earth orbit coverage in the Southern hemisphere.

Last year, we declared initial operational capability of the Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness program that most of you know as GSSAP. This new set of satellites has a clear, unobstructed vantage point for viewing resident space objects out to 22,000 miles. I am excited about the future of this program given how critical our assets in geostationary equatorial orbit (GEO) orbits are to us.

Second, we are organizing ourselves to address the threat. To get at this, last year we stood up the Joint Space Doctrine and Tactics Forum, known fondly as the JSDTF. I co-chair this forum with Ms. Betty Sapp, the Director of the National Reconnaissance Office.

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 Department of Defense (DoD) and the intelligence community. For example, we’ve worked to better integrate our exercise programs and wargames, share lessons learned from both experiments and exercises, explore doctrine changes and enhance information and data flow.

These forum discussions further illuminated the need to establish an experimentation environment in order to better understand the concept of operations we need to address the challenges in space; consistent with results from our Space Security and Defense Program.

In 2015, we stood up the JICSpOC concept, including the Joint Interagency Combined Space Operations Center located at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado.

This center provides the DoD and intelligence community with a robust test and experimentation environment to better integrate our space operations in response to threats and afford unity of effort between diverse space communities.

The JICSpOC represents a fundamental step forward in ensuring the U.S. outpaces emerging and advancing space threats. The Deputy Secretary of Defense [Bob] Work has stated that this is the first “operational construct” of the Third Offset Strategy and is a key contributor to maintaining the military’s competitive edge.

It will improve our processes and procedures, encourage unity of effort, boost our ability to fuse the operations of our space systems and intelligence data real-time. It will also enhance the nation’s deterrent posture by demonstrating the U.S. is prepared should an adversary threaten our space capabilities.

While there is much left to do, I am delighted with how much we’ve already learned from this innovative approach.

All of these initiatives are extremely important, but we cannot do it alone.

USSTRATCOM 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, this past Monday, we signed an agreement with the United Arab Emirates to share space services and data, making them the eleventh nation to participate in agreements with the United States. We also partner with a large number of commercial entities and two international space organizations and we have a number of allies and partners working in the Joint Space Operations Center, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. In fact, we currently have several members from allied nations who are currently serving in critical crew and leadership positions.

Additionally, our Commercial Integration Cell helps us pursue greater cooperation and synergy by integrating liaison personnel from industry within the JSpOC. Combining our efforts, resources and expertise strengthens deterrence, enhances resiliency, optimizes resources, and improves space mission assurance.

These are just a few of our initiatives, but we cannot rest on our laurels. While I am certainly pleased to see the space enterprise as a whole gathering momentum, there are several hurdles we must overcome.

First, with the threat of sequestration looming in 2018, this can compromise the momentum we are establishing. Right now I am pleased with the PB17 submission to Congress that includes $22 billion for space. We won’t have enough dollars to cover every gap, so we must think carefully about where to accept risk across the collective enterprise.

Second, in order to improve dynamic space situational awareness we must be able to ingest large amounts of data from improved sensing that includes change detection. I hope you remember the news media discussions on a Russian space object called Object E, something that was originally classified as space debris that started moving in a non-debris fashion. We can likely expect more of this in the future.

Third, we must have an effective Battle Management Command and Control System that provides tailored visualization capabilities suited to both operators at various levels and decision makers at various leadership levels.

For example, those on the JICSpOC floor require one view, while I, as a combatant commander, need a different view that provides understanding at the strategic level vice the tactical and operational level.

Other visualization schemas must be available for other operational centers to better integrate space tools, space operators and space planners - for example, in regional Combined Air Operation Centers.

This requires us to prototype Battle Management Command and Control methodologies and other experimental tools to a certain level of maturity before formalizing them in standard programs of record. This requires an acquisition strategy that is more agile and adaptable to the dynamic security environment. Time is not on our side.

The final hurdle I’ll mention has to do with culture. In line with Gen. Hyten’s earlier discussion on transforming our space operators into a Space Mission Force, which is underway, we need to likewise change the culture across our joint military forces to understand that these are not just future threats, but some of these threatening capabilities exist today.

For example, when one of our space systems goes off line, or a receiver is no longer receiving information from space systems, we can no longer assume that it’s the results of an equipment problem or operator error. We must quickly assess and verify that we’re not under attack.

We must also communicate what we are doing in space in a vocabulary so that those who are not working every day in the domain can also understand. This is yet another field overpopulated with abbreviations and clever codes. In order to address the challenges in the space domain we must be able to synchronize this across our operations in all the other domains.

This requires a different a mindset and culture change.

As I conclude, let me say this: In the nearly two and a half years since I took command of USSTRATCOM, I’ve seen a real shift in our operational and strategic mindset. Rather than thinking of space as an enabler of operations, military commanders are increasingly understanding that space as a critical capability.

At the end of the day, we must work hard to ensure that we can deter conflict from extending to outer space. We simply cannot risk denied access to a domain that is so vital to U.S. national security. But if deterrence fails, we must be ready with a resilient capability and associated operational concepts and tactics to defeat efforts to an attack on our space systems.

Finally, I want to thank all those involved in support of achieving the objectives and principles laid out in the 2010 National Space Policy and 2015 National Security Strategy.

Know that I agree with Deputy Secretary of Defense Work in that we must make our space architectures and our operations more resilient − hard to find, hard to catch, hard to hit and hard to kill. I need your intellect, passion and innovative solutions to continue the momentum we’ve established.

I will stop here and take a few of your questions.