Hagel: Stratcom Will Continue Key Defense Role
By Nick Simeone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 20, 2013 A day after President Barack Obama proposed deeper cuts in U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told service members at U.S. Strategic Command that nuclear deterrence has kept the peace for nearly 70 years and that Stratcom will continue to play an important role in national security policy.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel walks with Air Force Gen. C. Robert "Bob" Kehler, second from right, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, Navy Vice Adm. Tim Giardina, the command's deputy commander, and Army Command Sgt. Maj. Patrick Z. Alston, the command's senior enlisted leader, on Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., June 20, 2013. Hagel met with senior leaders, received command briefings, and visited with troops and civilians to thank them for their service. DOD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
“This institution is at the center of that responsibility,” Hagel told Stratcom employees after being introduced at its headquarters at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., by Stratcom Commander Air Force Gen. C. Robert Kehler. “Nuclear deterrence has kept world peace since World War II.”
U.S. Strategic Command and its elements are charged with overseeing the nation’s strategic nuclear deterrence as well as responding to space-based challenges and cyber threats. But even amid the “different times and new threats” facing the nation, Hagel said, Stratcom will continue to remain central to America’s defense.
“Strategic Command probably has as much responsibility for those changes as far as threats, cyber, weapons of mass destruction, space, all elements that are literally part of this universe,” he noted.
The president called on Russia yesterday to negotiate new cuts in both countries’ deployed strategic nuclear weapons, beyond those agreed to in the 2010 New START Treaty.
“I note the president’s speech on our nuclear posture,” Hagel said at Stratcom today, “because it brings home in a very real way your assignment and responsibilities. Stratcom will remain a foundational piece of our national security for a long time.”
Yesterday, in remarks that followed the president’s, Hagel told an audience at the University of Nebraska the proposed cuts would still allow the United States to deter aggression as well as maintain the nation’s longstanding triad of nuclear-armed bombers, land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear-armed submarines.