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SPEECH | Oct. 21, 2016

Kansas State University Landon Lecture Series

(As Delivered - Edited for Clarity)

Adm. Cecil D. Haney, U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) commander:  Good morning and thank you Gen. Dick Myers [Retired Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, Interim KSU president] for having me here and for your leadership here at Kansas State University, and also for that kind introduction.

It is an honor to be here and introduced by an individual who is a truly remarkable leader.  As the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Meyers led us through the beginning stages of the Global War on Terrorism and tirelessly advocated for transformation of the military and support for military personnel and their families.  I would like a round of applause for General Myers.  His work as the KSU interim president is a testament to his passion and commitment to this university.  I was thankful for his recent visit to USSTRATCOM as part of an ethics panel we had there not that long ago – another one of my favorite subjects. This business of integrity and ethics, I think, is so important to your business no matter where you work or reside.  I will also say that he is the only person I’ve met who is a more avid K-State supporter than my executive assistant Ms. Valerie Meyer; not related, but also a graduate of K-State.  She studied biology here and has been there much longer than my two tours.  She’s been in the front office of USSTRATCOM for about six different commanders.  I couldn’t bring her here with me today because she’s too darn important to the operation back there.

I would also like to thank the leaders that are here today, both from academia as well as those like Dennis Mullin, Kansas Board of Regents and Chairman of Steel and Pipe Supply, and Brig. Gen. Patrick Frank, deputy commanding general of the 1st Infantry Division, for being here as well.

As I flew in this morning and looked at the beautiful Flint Hills region surrounding the campus of KSU, I was reminded of when I first told my lovely bride Ms. Bonny we were being stationed in Omaha at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. She asked me what I’d done wrong in the Navy to be stationed so far from water.  After two tours in Omaha though – first as the USSTRATCOM deputy commander and subsequently as the USSTRATCOM commander – I will tell you my family has truly enjoyed our time here, and quite frankly are lamenting the fact that we will soon leave Nebraska and head back home to Washington, D.C., when I change command here on the 3rd of November.  We’ve met so many remarkable and patriotic friends there in the region, and you can really see the heart in America’s heartland in folks like yourselves.  Though I’ll have to report back to Ms. Bonny that here in Manhattan I’ve found a sea of purple.

I also saw the magnificent Bill Snyder Family Stadium and know many here are excited about tomorrow’s homecoming game against the University of Texas Longhorns.  Good luck in that endeavor.  I hope there’s a lot of strategic thinking and associated execution to make homecoming an enjoyable event.

It is truly a pleasure to be here with you as part of this very prestigious lecture series – now in its 50th year – and to share with you some of my thoughts on deterrence in the 21st century.

Today's complex and multi-faceted security environment involves nation states and non-state actors that are challenging well-respected international norms and our democratic principles.  Given that, our current and future leaders must be able to rapidly connect to and digest traditional and non-traditional reams of information, and integrate it into historical and cultural models to stimulate critical thinking necessary to create timely operational and strategic options for national security decision makers.  They must have the capacity to understand adversary perceptions and apply that knowledge to developing comprehensive strategy and plans with an ultimate goal of increasing decision space of our nation’s most senior leaders.

As such, I want to cover three things today regarding deterrence in the 21st century: our challenges,  how we at USSTRATCOM are addressing them now and where we need to work together to continue to address them.

Every day we see headlines pointing to our nation's efforts supporting coalitions in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and other hot spots around the globe.

As commander of USSTRATCOM, I’m concerned about all of these issues, but I am particularly focused on five evolving challenges, sometimes we call it ‘four plus one’: Russia, China, North Korea, Iran and violent extremist organizations (VEOs).

Today, we – including 500 Soldiers from the nation’s 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley – are part of an international campaign against VEOs and terror groups that are recruiting and operating across political, social and cyberspace boundaries seeking to destroy our democratic way of life.  Given what we have witnessed in the past year in places like Paris, San Bernardino, Brussels and Orlando, we must succeed in this campaign.

By virtue of the size of its nuclear arsenal, Russia poses an existential threat to the U.S.  They continue to modernize, even though Russia faces some challenging economic sanctions.  At the same time, it is building conventional military forces; investing in nuclear weapons, including those with tactical ranges; and is pursuing hypersonic-glide vehicle technology – with current news of Russia penetrating via cyber our political mechanisms.  Russia continues to engage in destabilizing actions in Syria and Ukraine, developing counterspace and cyber capabilities and conducting activities below the threshold of international community alarm, all the while declaring and recklessly expressing its willingness to escalate if required.  Having said that, Russia must understand it would be a serious miscalculation to consider nuclear escalation as a viable option.  Russia will not achieve the benefits it seeks.

Moving to the Asia-Pacific region, China continues attempts to advance claims over disputed areas, conducting unsafe intercepts in the South and East China Seas.  It continues to invest aggressively in its military, particularly in capabilities – both conventional and nuclear – that allow China to project power and deny access to others – emphasized by its recent deployment of long-range surface-to-air missiles to the Paracel Islands.  China is busy reorganizing their forces – having learned valuable lesson from the U.S. and our coalition partners – and is working to enhance their capabilities, particularly their strategic support forces.  They are also pursuing conventional prompt global strike capabilities and offensive counterspace technologies, while exploiting computer networks.  China has the world’s largest and most comprehensive missile force, and has prioritized the development and deployment of regional ballistic and cruise missiles to expand its conventional strike capabilities against U.S. forces and bases throughout the region.  They continue to field an anti-ship ballistic missile, which provides the capability to attack U.S. aircraft carriers in the western Pacific Ocean, such as our aircraft carriers.  Additionally, cyber operations from China are still targeting and exploiting U.S. government, defense industry, academia and private computer networks.  As Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified March 2016, “China continues cyber espionage against the U.S.  Whether China's commitment of last September moderates its economic espionage remains to be seen.”  China continues to employ a combination of government personnel, contractors and loosely affiliated or ideologically aligned hackers – augmenting their capabilities and challenging our ability to attribute malicious cyber activity.  These activities, coupled with China’s lack of transparency, raise questions about its aspirations in the long run.

Moving on the North Korea, I noticed Dennis Rodman has not been connected to Kim Jung Un recently; I’m not sure what’s going on with that relationship.  But, North Korea’s coercive, irresponsible rhetoric and actions undermine regional stability.  Though North Korea is not yet an existential threat to the U.S., it remains the most dangerous and unpredictable actor in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.  Pyongyang’s evolving nuclear weapons, ballistic missile programs and provocative behavior underscore the growing threat.  North Korea continues to conduct nuclear test activities of grave concern, not just to the U.S., but the international community at large.  Kim Jung Un and his regime have conducted an unprecedented two nuclear tests this year, conducting a total of five nuclear tests with the one last month assessed as larger than their previous tests – violating all international norms – despite sanctions and the horrible conditions his population lives in.  North Korea continues to expand its stockpile of weapons grade fissile material and develop a submarine-launched ballistic missile.  They also continue in their quest for a nuclear-tipped missile capable of striking the U.S. and our allies and partners, launching satellites into space using ballistic missile technology.  These developments highlight North Korea’s commitment to diversifying its missile forces and nuclear delivery options at all costs.  Just as other adversaries have gone underground and rely on mobile capabilities, North Korea has an arsenal of mobile missiles, even a submarine, and uses its diverse topography to conceal its capabilities, as well as its intentions.  North Korean leadership’s willingness to ignore the plight of their people, yet undertake provocative actions against Seoul, poses a serious threat to regional stability and demands the international community’s attention.  As with Russia, North Korea must understand it cannot escalate its way to victory and the U.S. will take actions to assure our allies in the region.

Iran’s continued involvement in Middle Eastern conflicts and development of ballistic missile programs and cyberspace capabilities requires our attention.  Iran’s current ballistic missiles are capable of striking targets throughout the region, ranging as far as southeastern Europe, and they are likely to continue developing more sophisticated missiles with improved accuracy, range and lethality.  This past March, the U.S. Department of Justice charged hackers associated with the Iranian government with taking concerted efforts to target U.S. infrastructure with distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks against U.S. Banks, the U.S. Navy/Marine Corps Intranet and a dam in New York.  Iranian efforts in the cyberspace domain continue to evolve.  While it appears to be following the mandates of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), we will need to continue to watch Iran closely and remain vigilant for any shift by Iran to depart from this agreement and develop a break out nuclear capability. 

As we look in the rear-view mirror over the last year and extrapolate into the future, our global security environment remains dynamic and uncertain. 

Some nation states are developing and modernizing their nuclear weapons capabilities.  Nuclear and non-nuclear nation states aspire to – or have demonstrated their ability to – employ not just a variety of missile capabilities, but also cyber, counterspace and other asymmetric capabilities. 

We are also seeing our competitors and adversary’s becoming increasingly more mobile, hardened and underground. 

Other trends include advanced missile capabilities and a use of surrogates to avoid direct attribution, some striving to avoid the threshold of our international community intolerance levels.

Similarly, we can expect an increase in the number of nations who may wish to deny the peaceful use of space.  Adversaries and potential adversaries are developing, and in some cases demonstrating, disruptive and destructive counterspace capabilities.  They are exploiting what they perceive as our space vulnerabilities – threatening the vital national, civil, scientific and economic benefits to the U.S. and the global community. 

Each of these trends creates significant uncertainty, and altogether, they require constant collaboration with our allies and partners to monitor, prepare, counter and defeat.

The reality is that the strategic environment I’ve described is more like a complex, multi-player game of chess.  We must view today’s threats in the context of transregional, multi-domain and multi-functional.  In other words, the complexity of securing our nation’s peace is not contained within borders or stove-piped domains of specific areas of responsibility. 

So you might ask given all that, ‘what are we doing about it?’

Some question whether deterrence is still relevant in today’s world; I assure you it is.  Our strategic capabilities are used every day to maintain strategic stability.

Strategic deterrence is a complex subject that is foundational to global security.  It depends on the situation, and one size never fits all, yet it is bounded in the understanding that no adversary can escalate their way out of a failed conflict; no adversary will gain the benefit they seek; restraint is always the better option; and, if necessary, we will respond in a time, place and domain of our choosing.

Any nations that think they can get away with a strategic attack on the U.S. and our allies must think carefully about their actions and potential consequences.  A strategic attack is one that has devastating or catastrophic effect on a population.  I think we all understand the impact a nuclear weapon could have, but it’s also important to understand that an attack in space or cyberspace can have strategic effect.

Given all of these complexities and the interconnectedness of globalization, these strategic problems have global ramifications that require comprehensive solutions.

As a functional combatant command, USSTRATCOM has trans-regional responsibility that extends from under the sea all the way up to geosynchronous orbit.  While my nine Unified Command Plan-assigned missions – space operations; strategic deterrence and assurance; cyberspace operations; global strike; analysis and targeting; integrated missile defense; joint electronic warfare; combatting weapons of mass destruction; and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance – may seem distinct and disconnected, when considered as a whole, they are complementary and synergetic.  Having each mission area under USSTRATCOM is what allows us to address 21st century deterrence in a comprehensive and integrated manner.  USSTRATCOM’s capabilities underpin the fundamental elements of deterrence, affording the U.S. the ability to maintain strategic stability – a must in this dynamic and uncertain security environment. 

We are a warfighting command, and as such, focus on delivering comprehensive warfighting solutions.  We work to understand deterrence mechanisms and gain a deeper understanding of our adversaries or potential adversaries.  We provide the nation with a safe, secure, effective and credible strategic nuclear deterrence force that is ready.  We engage with the interagency and fellow combatant commands to facilitate resiliency in space and cyberspace – increasing deterrence and synchronizing these military efforts with the other elements of what we call the ‘DIME’ [diplomacy, information, military and economic levers of power.] 

We are also investing to sustain and modernize associated capabilities.  Some might think that our nuclear deterrence force is only in reference to our Triad of nuclear weapons platforms: intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) and nuclear-capable bombers.  While these capabilities are necessary, our deterrence is much more than nuclear weapons and platforms.  It also includes a robust intelligence apparatus, a space-sensing capability that provides Indications and warnings along with land-based radars, national and nuclear command and control communications, missile defense capabilities for rogue nations such as North Korea, conventional capabilities, verifiable treaties and comprehensive plans that link organizations in a coherent manner.  Each of these depends on successful operations in the space and cyberspace domains. 

In order to ensure strategic stability, we must be able to quickly fuse together intelligence and sensed information, ascertain if it is an attack on the United States of America, an attack on one of our allies, a missile launch in a war zone or an expected developmental test; and when required, we must move this information all the way up to the President of the United States to maximize his decision space.  

The communications mechanisms must be survivable and must be enduring to ensure this assessment is not delayed and again to maximize senior leader decision space, also to connect all of our operational commands together in a seamless fashion.

It’s interesting to think back to the early 1990s and how we thought about space.  If anyone has read ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ – which I’m sure is on this campus’ reading list – you might recall the description that “Space is big.  Really big.  You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely mind-bogglingly big it is.”  Today though, this characterization of space 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.  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. 

I hope you get the picture of the interdependencies between space, cyberspace, missile defense and our nuclear deterrence forces in ensuring strategic stability from a military standpoint. 

Our deterrence forces stand at the ready and are critical in a global security environment where it is clear that other nation states are placing a high priority on developing, sustaining, modernizing and in some cases expanding their nuclear forces.  Our readiness and modernization efforts are key to ensuring current and future strategic stability for addressing the range of crises we anticipate, and those we don't anticipate. 

Some in this audience may be aware that while we are making progress, our delivery systems and national nuclear command and control communications architecture are ‘maturing.’  They have already been, or will be, extended decades beyond their original expected service life and all must be replaced in the 2025-2035 timeframe because we’ve delayed their replacements.  Our ICBMs, B-52 bombers, and Ohio-class submarines were fielded in the 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s. 

By comparison – and you might be surprised that as a 4-star, my wife and I drive a vehicle that is 13 years mature, old by auto standards, but it’s a real “spring chicken” by our nuclear deterrence delivery system standards.  She’s still reliable – my car that is – but requires more maintenance to keep her that way.  Needless to say, like our nuclear deterrence systems, my car has to have an impeccable maintenance record. 

Today, the extended service of our nuclear delivery platforms is testament to the efforts and ingenuity of our predecessors, especially the designers, engineers, maintainers and industry, but we are fast approaching the point where having an effective nuclear deterrence will be put at risk.  To be clear, baseline sustainment won’t meet future adversarial threats; we simply must modernize.  Delaying development and fielding of any of our current modernization programs – everything from space-sensing, communications, platforms and life extensions for our warheads – or ceasing to invest in the people who engineer, maintain and operate these systems, will create an unacceptable increase in risk.  Equally, if not more important, delaying will directly affect our credibility and ability to deter and assure and will detract from our Non-proliferation Treaty efforts. 

Usually when I get to this point in a speech, I typically get the question, ‘commander, can we afford this investment?’  I generally reply, ‘Given the security environment and the import of strategic stability, can we afford not to?’ 

Today, maintaining our strategic nuclear capability costs about three percent of our defense total obligation authority.  In the 2020s to 2030s, as we begin recapitalization in earnest, that figure will grow to between six and seven percent.  That is a modest price to pay for a deterrence capability against countries like Russia and North Korea.  I encourage our next administration to continue to support our current efforts.  It reflects our nation’s commitment to our deterrence strategy.  If we are to meet future challenges, we must have a synchronized campaign of investments supporting the full range of military operations that secure our national security objectives.  So while I was pleased with the president’s proposed budget request for fiscal year 2017, I am not pleased with the fact we do not have an approved budget and continue to live with this thing called a continuing resolution. 

As we look at having a credible strategic deterrence capability, understand we at USSTRATCOM do not do this alone.  I fundamentally believe we must take a holistic approach which integrates military effects with all our instruments of national power.  This requires synchronization of what is commonly called the ‘DIME,’ which together deters our adversary’s and assures our allies and partners.  The military piece, of course, I’m a part of.

In other words, we must pursue a proactive whole-of-government approach to deterrence, including allies and partners in our efforts, with ready efforts in all domains.  Otherwise we are just playing defense and it’s not just about defense.  One must have offensive capabilities, as I’m sure Bill Snyder [KSU football coach] would attest, even the best defense sometimes has a hole, and it can’t win the game by itself.

As commander of USSTRATCOM, I have six priorities.  The first is to deter strategic attack against the U.S., providing assurance to our allies.  The second is to provide the nation with a safe, secure, effective and ready strategic nuclear deterrence force.  The third is to deliver comprehensive warfighting solutions.  The fourth is to address challenges in space and cyberspace with capability, capacity and resilience. 

My final two priorities are building, sustaining and supporting partnerships; and anticipating change and confronting uncertainty with agility and innovation.  I want to focus one these two for the remainder of my time here because this is where we can work together to address the challenges I laid out earlier.

Deterring in today's multi-polar world requires us to view threats across the ‘spectrum of conflict,’ where escalation may occur with more than one adversary and can be transregional and multi-domain.  Given all of these complexities and the interconnectedness of globalization, these strategic problems have global ramifications that require comprehensive solutions.  If, in the unforeseeable event that deterrence fails, we must be able to provide relevant options to de-escalate the conflict in our favor.

That requires us to have a deeper understanding of our adversaries and potential adversaries, and know the range of strategic threats that each pose.  We need to know how they think, how they perceive our actions and our messages so that we can better anticipate and address developing situations.

At USSTRATCOM, we aim to work seamlessly with the other combatant commands, across the federal government, with partners and allies, the commercial sector and academia to apply the scope of the USSTRATCOM portfolio toward a synchronized pursuit of national objectives – building, sustaining and supporting partnerships, so that we can better understand the strategic and the regional environment and successfully develop effective strategies.  Similar to the way Kansas State operates its military and veterans enterprise by engaging a ‘whole-of-university’ approach to education, research and outreach.

Building deterrence and assurance capacity requires talented people – whether they are serving in our armed forces, in our government, as industry partners or within academia.  As leaders, we must ensure we are developing the talent that will assume the mantle as the geopolitical landscape continues to change and evolve. 

I emphasize ‘anticipating change and confronting uncertainty with agility and innovation’ because I believe sound decision making requires thorough analysis to prioritize our activities with flexible, agile and adaptable thinking. 

In my almost four decades of service to our nation, I have seen a tremendous amount of change.  When I boarded my first submarine, our focus then was on one threat, rather than the many I outlined for you today.  We faced a specific nuclear threat, now we face multiple actors with weapons of mass destruction; and only seven nations were capable of launching satellites into orbit.  Today more than 76 entities have launched almost 18,000 objects into space.  Right before I entered the Naval Academy, I was a glorified key punch operator on a main frame computer – something most of the young people in this audience cannot even envision with our smart phones and superior technology and gadgets.

This means we must be thoughtful going forward.  Our country needs professionals that can think deeply and strategically, voice an educated opinion, coherently document those thoughts and drive effective solutions.  We need individuals who are willing to develop and stretch their intellect well beyond one-dimensional thinking.  We need leaders who do not become static, and who search for and recognize signals of change; and then find connections and solutions that are seemingly impossible.  We need ‘chess players’ who can operate in a multi-dimensional environment, with multiple activities taking place simultaneously, on a board where they may not fully understand the rules by which multiple adversaries are playing.  We must be able to maintain situational awareness of what matters and act where necessary. 

We need to inspire and develop the next Thomas Schelling or Henry Kissinger to address 21st century deterrence, assurance and escalation control issues.  You know what’s neat about this job, I actually had two different times where I got to sit down with the great Henry Kissinger, over an hour each, and really discuss and debate with him our methodologies today associated with deterrence.  It’s great to see that individual at his tender age, I’ll just leave it at 90 plus, that engaged – the number of trips he’s made to China and Russia, for example.

Our current national security challenges also require the integration of diplomacy, information, economic, industrial innovation, et cetera.  We still have more work to do.

We must ask ourselves, ‘how do we deter one without provoking another?  Are we thinking about our actions from the perception of our adversaries?  How do we communicate our intent, our resolve and our readiness in this age where the speed of information is so dramatically faster than it was in the Cold War era?’

The answers to these questions start with this institution and with the people in this auditorium.  KSU fosters a high-velocity learning environment and helps to create leaders who not only understand the challenges associated with the world we live in today, but who can develop and apply solutions.  Therefore, we need you!

I am proud to count KSU as a member of our Deterrence and Assurance Academic Alliance – an alliance built on a community of interest focused on the themes of national security and deterrence and assurance, designed to leverage expertise and research on these concepts and to encourage the development of deterrence professionals to meet the nation’s need for future generations of leaders to address these challenges. 

I was really excited earlier this year when we were able to bring members of this alliance together – we have 31 participating institutions – at USSTRATCOM to participate in a wargame; the same wargame we ran at a classified level that we now run at an unclassified level.  I won’t tell you the difference between the results, but it was great seeing those intellectuals and their professors really work this in a big way.  I hope USSTRATCOM can count on this university’s participation and leadership in this partnership, and hope you can attend the command’s 2017 Deterrence Symposium.

In closing, I am honored to represent all those who carry out the varied missions assigned to USSTRATCOM, and all here who support these missions.  Having visited our space, cyberspace, missile defense and nuclear deterrence forces across the globe – all the way from the Middle East to New Zealand – I am even more proud of the dedicated professionals, both in and out of uniform, that get the work done 24/7. They deserve our unwavering support. 

Once again, I’d like to recognize all the partners in this room – from government, industry, academia and media – who are aggressively working solutions and supporting what we do for our nation and supporting democracy.

Ladies and gentlemen, the goal of deterrence is peace.  Peace is achieved through strength.  Strength is all of us working together to prepare for an uncertain world.

I’d like to salute first the students that are here or watching; whether you are studying agriculture, political science, engineering, biology or international affairs, I salute you for taking this endeavor seriously and for learning as much as you can while you are in this environment.  You never know where you will use this sometime in the future.

I salute those of you that are part of the ROTC [Reserve Officers’ Training Corps] unit both here, and I’m also to understand we may have some University of Kansas ROTC students here.  Thank you for volunteering to wear the uniform and to be a part of the greatest military on the planet.

I also salute the professors and the researchers.  I was so pleased to read about how Dr. Briana Golf, for example, receiving this award called the Outstanding Civilian Service Medal, presented by Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley in the middle of September.  It’s my understanding she launched the Institute for Health and Security for Military Families here, and does a lot of work in that area.  I hope she’s listening, or you all will tell her how proud I am of her for being the first KSU faculty member to receive this award.

I was also surprised to find here in the group an Associate Professor for Landscape Architecture and Regional/Community Planning, Miss LaBarbara Wigfall.  I’ve gone to church with her parents back on the east coast when I was stationed at the Pentagon – pretty neat to see that unexpected connection here.

For all the professors associated with what you do here, you are very important.

For all those ‘Big Red One’ [1st Infantry Division] soldiers at Fort Riley and deployed, “Duty First!”  For all those from the university, I would embarrass myself or you by attempting the “Wabash Cannonball” but I will say, “Go K-State!”

Thank you all for that you do in support of our nation.  I fundamentally believe that, in addition to the military, the business of what we do in learning and academia is a national asset for the United States of America.  Thank you again for this invitation to speak.

I’m happy to take questions.  Thank you.