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SPEECH | Oct. 19, 2015

Edward Teller Lecture

(As prepared)

Adm. Cecil D. Haney, U.S. Strategic Command Commander: Good evening. Chuck thanks for that kind introduction and thank you for your leadership.

It's truly my privilege be here in Aiken, South Carolina. It's not only a very patriotic community, but a hub of intellect and experience when it comes to nuclear science and operations. I know you are passionate about nuclear energy and its role in national security, and I appreciate your support of our non-proliferation efforts.

A special thanks to University of South Carolina Aiken for graciously allowing us to use this facility. It's great to be on a campus that has been ranked as the number one public college in the south for eleven years straight!

It's also fantastic to see a campus that is attuned to the requirements of our veterans and military members who have served their country admirably. Your programs ensure our veterans have the education they need to continue contributing to their fullest as citizens to the United States.

So how about a round of applause for the Director of the Office of Veteran and Military Students, retired Marine Mr. Robert Murphy.

Thank you, also, to Dr. Terry Michalske and Dr. Paul Cloessner for their hospitality this afternoon at the Savannah River Laboratory. My visit was incredibly informative. I can tell you that it was not nearly enough time to truly absorb the diversity of projects and missions that happen at the lab. I look forward to our continued relationship and I add my congratulations to you on more than six decades of operations.

Tonight's forum, of course, would not be possible without all the work done by the Citizens for Nuclear Technology Awareness, or CNTA. Thank you for your efforts to educate and inform others of the importance of nuclear technology in today's world - every day -- not just during National Nuclear Science Week.

Well, it is an honor to present the Edward Teller Lecture. Considering the many prestigious speakers you've had over the past 24 years, including Edward Teller himself, Dr. James Schlesinger, Dr. Johnny Foster and Richard Rhodes, I am humbled to be on the stage.

Edward Teller, as you all know, is best known as the father of the "hydrogen" bomb, and is celebrated as one of the most brilliant, yet enigmatic scientists of the 20th Century.

Teller was instrumental in the beginning of nuclear development, and influenced how strategic thinkers and innovators brought the nuclear age forward. Today, nuclear science underpins the fields of medicine, energy, agriculture, industry and, of course, our military.

My remarks this evening will focus on our military and how my responsibilities as the Commander of U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) tie to national security and non-proliferation. I'll begin with a brief overview of USSTRATCOM, and then I will talk about how the work you are doing here, in this region, relates to my six priorities.

Missions and Priorities

USSTRATCOM provides an array of global strategic capabilities to our joint military force through nine Presidential-directed Unified Command Plan assigned missions. At first glance, they may seem distinct and unrelated.

While each is unique, when considered as a whole - as a system - they are complementary and synergistic. Having all of these global strategic capabilities under USSTRATCOM allows us to address 21st Century deterrence in a very connected, holistic manner.

Our strategic deterrence capabilities are sometimes simply described as the platforms and weapons that compose our visible triad of ballistic missile submarines, intercontinental ballistic missiles, and our nuclear-capable B-2 and B-52 bombers as well as the tankers that refuel those aircraft.

But the triad alone is not enough.

To have a credible safe, secure, effective nuclear deterrent, we need appropriate intelligence and sensing capabilities to give indications and warnings of incoming threats. We must have assured National and Nuclear Command, Control and Communications to enable communications from the President down to the warfighter. Effective weapons systems, to include reliable warheads, are essential. The critical infrastructure that supports our deterrent forces is also key. Of course, a credible missile defense system is a must when considering countering rogue nations such as North Korea.

Above all else, our people must be trained and ready to maintain and operate those weapon systems. Our nuclear deterrent forces conduct integrated and combined operations. My team continually works to gain a comprehensive understanding of the strategic environment from an adversary's point of view.

Simply stated, strategic deterrence is about communicating capability and intent. Our actions must convince adversaries they cannot escalate their way out of a failed conflict, and that restraint is a better option.

Although we continue to work toward the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons, the strategic environment is increasingly complex. Nation states are developing and modernizing their nuclear capabilities. Weapons and platforms are becoming more mobile, hardened and underground.

For example, President Putin recently announced that Russia is adding more than 40 new Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles to its inventory. Russian strategic bombers routinely penetrate U.S. and Allied Air Defense Identification Zones, and there have been a number of destabilizing actions associated with Ukraine, Syria, Russia's illegal occupation of Crimea, and its violation of the INF Treaty.

China is re-engineering its long-range ballistic missiles to carry multiple nuclear warheads. At the same time, China continues asserting regional dominance in the East and South China Seas. As we saw at the beginning of September, China's parading of their advanced missiles was intended to clearly display their modernization and capability advancements.

To say North Korea's behavior over the past 60 years has been problematic is an understatement. Under Kim Jong-un, North Korea continues heightening tensions by coupling provocative statements and actions with advancements in strategic capabilities, claiming developments in nuclear warhead miniaturization and in road-mobile and sub-launched ballistic missile technologies.

I could go on, but I think you get the picture.

What is perhaps not so obvious is the effect from some of the rhetoric and mis-information tactics being used. This is especially true when referring to the differences between what is observed and assessed when compared to what is said to have occurred.

So you see the world is complex, dynamic and uncertain, possibly more so than at any time in our history.

Of my six priorities, deterring strategic attack against the U.S. and providing assurance to our Allies is at the top. Also included is providing a credible safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent force.

This afternoon I had a tour of the Tritium Production Site at Savannah River. As most in the audience know, this is where the professionals extract, recover, purify, and fill the gas transfer systems found in our nuclear weapons, ensuring that our systems operate as designed.

I was glad to see and tap into the intellect and experience of experts like Wallis Spangler and Crawford Price. While neither Wallis nor Crawford are here this evening, next time you see them be sure to thank them for a job well done. The work they do ensures the reliability and military effectiveness of an aging stockpile without nuclear end-to-end testing.

I also know there are local efforts to decrease the amount of fissile material in our stockpile and ensure it won't ever reach criticality. This is a major endeavor and is essential not only to our non-proliferation efforts, but also for defeating the efforts of terror groups and non-state actors who are looking to obtain, and use, nuclear weapons.

Thanks to all involved.

I am sure many of you have teamed up to get at some of the global challenges facing our country. Building enduring relationships with partner organizations - including many here in South Carolina and across the border in Georgia -- is another of my priorities and is vital for success. Defeating our adversaries across the spectrum of conflict requires working together, synchronizing with our whole of government, across the inter-agency, and with our allies and partners.

Of course, it's just as critical to build "personal" enduring relationships. It is great to see a couple of my Naval academy classmates, Dave Eyler and Charles Nickell.

I see that years of experience haven't changed their personalities much from our Naval Academy, or shall I say our "Canoe U" days. Although, I have to be a little careful how much grief I give my fellow engineers. We need to stick together like binding particles.

My fourth and fifth priorities are addressing challenges in space, and building cyberspace capability and capacity.

Let me talk a little about space. In addition to giving our military strategic and tactical advantage, space underpins every part of our global economy - including our civil and commercial infrastructure, our banking needs, weather forecasting, navigation, and farming. Many everyday activities that you probably don't spend a lot of time thinking about - from getting cash at an ATM or our ability to pay for gas at the pump - depend on space.

As the Commander of USSTRATCOM, I also rely on space as an important enabler to my nuclear deterrent mission. It is a key part of our sensing and warning systems, as well as our national nuclear command, control, and communications architecture.

There are more than 170 countries with access to space capabilities. In an environment that is becoming more contested, degraded, operationally limited, and increasingly vulnerable, we must determine how best to defend our space systems and assured access to space.

One of the ways we are addressing this is by working to establish acceptable norms and practices in space. Just last week I was in New Zealand for a combined space operations meeting with Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom. I met with a number of allies and partners who recognized and reinforced the importance of acting responsibly in, and maintaining the peaceful use of space.

Similar to outer-space, the cyber space domain is also facing growing threats from a variety of actors.

Our critical infrastructure, financial industry and information at large, are under constant attack. To put this in context, according the a 2013 report by the Center for Strategic Studies and International Studies, breaches and malicious activities are costing the U.S. $100 billion annually. We clearly have a lot of work to do in making our architecture and operators more resilient.

While I will not do it here, frequently in forums I attend I will ask: Who here is a cyber-warrior? Who here thinks cyber can have a strategic effect?

Your response would be very interesting to CAPT Mike Vernazza, the Commanding Officer of the Georgia Navy Information Operations Command, a tenant unit on Fort Gordon. I'm positive he would say that we are ALL cyber warriors, given our day-to-day interactions in cyber-space.

My fifth priority is building up our cyberspace capability and capacity. I'm proud to tell you that the 104th Cyber Combat Mission Team, located at Fort Gordon, became the first to reach full operational capability under the Joint Forces Headquarters for Army Cyber Command this past summer. Not far behind is the newly formed 107th, also located at Fort Gordon, which is also progressing towards initial operating capability.

So Mike and team, thanks for what you are doing in this critical domain. To all, remember you are all cyber warriors. If nothing else, you are sensors to report malicious activity to the team.

My sixth, and final priority is anticipating change and confronting uncertainty with agility and innovation. If we are to deter and detect strategic attack - whether that is nuclear, in space or in cyber-space - we must think about "unthinkable" scenarios.

We can't just look at military doctrine and order of battle to determine how an adversary thinks or what his next action will be. As history has shown, we can get strategic predictions wrong.

This means having the right people in the right jobs at the right time. It means investing in our workforce, both military and civilian. It means developing the next generation of engineers, physicists, mathematicians, cyber experts, and multi-dimensional strategic thinkers. In other words, we must enable, inspire and develop the next Edward Tellers, Enrico Fermis, Thomas Schellings and Henry Kissingers.

At USSTRATCOM, we have established an Academic Alliance Program focused on developing a community of interest for deterrence and assurance in the context of national security. We are now in partnership with 17 universities and military higher-education institutions, and we are looking for more to join us.

We also recently established a scholars program at the National Defense University allowing students to tailor their electives to focus on strategic policy and deterrence issues.

There are a number of other initiatives, but the question is always - are we doing enough to stimulate interest in these areas?

So it was great to read about a new scholar's program between the University of South Carolina Aiken and Savannah River National Laboratory, aimed at helping students prepare for careers in science, technology, engineering and math.

I noted that Aiken Technical College has nine programs focused on "nuclear." As I understand it, this college is taking the education lead in some of these areas, and is producing students that are in high demand across the country.

I was also thrilled to hear about our award winners. Youngsters like Bianca, who is majoring in nuclear engineering, or our high school students Daniel, Kiana and Caleb, who all wrote such wonderful essays, give me hope. I know we have a bright future ahead of us.

How about another round of applause for these bright, young scholars.

Let me make one final point. For the seventh straight year, the U. S. is again living under a continuing resolution. While I have not talked about sustainment and modernization of our weapons and platforms, you should know that while things are moving in the right direction, I continue to advocate for a budget that reflects our nation's commitment to our deterrent strategy that includes an education plan for our future generation.

I've voiced on numerous occasions my support for the President's Budget for Fiscal Year 2016. It protects key capability areas in supporting of DoD's strategy, including nuclear deterrence.

Even so, we have reached a point with our budget where we must look for innovative solutions from the ground up. We have to repurpose capabilities and put them together in ways we never would have done before. My team at USSTRATCOM is working incredibly hard in areas such as wargaming and experimentation. We don't have all the answers, but I challenge you to search for areas where together, we can make a difference in our national security and non-proliferation efforts.

For 70 years, our credible, safe, secure, effective strategic forces have enabled the world to be without major war between great powers. Having just visited some of these strategic warriors in places like Alaska and Kwajalein, I am very proud to represent the Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen, Marines, and civilians who conduct this mission 365/24/7.

As Secretary Carter has said, "Helping defend your country and making a better world is one of the noblest things a person do."

Whether you are working in our national laboratories, defending our cyber domains, educating the publics, making policy serving in our legislative branch, or whether you are simply here to support these efforts, I salute and thank you!

As I wrap up here I again wanted to highlight the passionate work Citizens for Nuclear Technology Awareness does with respect to education and outreach. I fundamentally believe programs like CNTA are important as the education of our population has significant strategic value to our nation.

Each of you here this evening is critical to our national security, non-proliferation efforts, and our overall strategic stability.

Thank you for this opportunity, and may God continue to bless this team, our all-volunteer force, and the United States of America.