WASHINGTON, March 25, 2015 – Stretching from under the sea to satellite orbit to cyberspace, U.S. Strategic Command’s areas of responsibility cover the globe, Stratcom’s commander, Navy Adm. Cecil D. Haney, said today during a news briefing at the Pentagon.
“For 70 years, we have deterred and assured. And while our nation’s nuclear enterprise is safe, secure and effective, we cannot take it for granted any longer,” the admiral told reporters.
“For decades, we have sustained while others have modernized their strategic nuclear forces, developing and utilizing counter-space activities, increasing the sophistication and pervasive nature of their cyber capabilities and proliferating these emerging strategic capabilities around the globe,” he said.
Russia is modernizing their nuclear triad, which is bombers, missiles and submarine-launched missiles, and associated industrial base, Haney said, and Russian President Vladimir Putin continues to provoke the international community.
“China has developed a capable submarine and intercontinental ballistic missile force and has recently demonstrated their counter-space capabilities,” the admiral said.
“North Korea claims to have possession of a miniaturized warhead and frequently parades their KN-O8 nuclear-capable ballistic missile,” Haney said.
“And Iran recently launched a space vehicle that could be used as a long-range strike platform,” he added.
But strategic deterrence is more than nuclear deterrence, the admiral noted.
It also includes space — a contested, congested and competitive environment — and cyberspace, where intrusions around the globe are also increasing at an unprecedented and alarming rate, Haney said.
President Barack Obama’s proposed defense budget for 2016 balances national priorities with fiscal realities, the admiral said, noting it “leaves no margin to absorb new risks.”
The United States simply cannot afford to underfund its strategic capabilities, he said.
“Any cuts to the president’s budget, including those imposed by sequestration, will hamper our ability to sustain and modernize our joint military forces and put us at real risk of making our nation less secure and able to address future threats,” Haney said.
Deterrence is a whole-of-government effort; no combatant commander can do it alone, the admiral said.
“It requires us all to work together … so that we can provide the nation with the requisite capability for our national security,” he said.