The commander of U.S. Strategic Command wants lawmakers to approve Pentagon plans to modernize the nation’s nuclear-deterrent capabilities.
“The strategic landscape of today is increasingly uncertain, complex, and volatile,”Air Force Gen. John E. Hyten told members of the House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee during a March 7 hearing.
Citing threats posed by Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran, Hyten told the panel that the present deterrent force is “safe, secure, ready and reliable, but the pace of change in the strategic environment is rapid.”
The U.S. deterrent must change quickly as well in order to stay ahead of these threats, Hyten said.
He echoed his colleagues in military leadership, calling the acquisition process too slow and burdensome to meet challenges posed by a host of adversaries and their diverse means of hindering the ability to squelch their ambitions.
Hyten also reiterated that the so-called nuclear triad — consisting of land, air and seaborne assets — is the “bedrock of our deterrence.”
The future of the nation’s deterrence capability would depend upon approval and deliver of the B-21 bomber, Columbia-class ballistic missile submarines, the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent, Long Range Standoff cruise missile, Nuclear Command, Control, and Communications, and life-extended nuclear warheads, Hyten told lawmakers.
Additionally, the cyber and space theaters warrant vigilance, he believes.
“There is no war in space, just as there is no war in cyberspace. There is only war, and war can extend into any domain,”Hyten said.
“The hard work and dedication of the nearly 184,000 men and women supporting the U.S. STRATCOM mission ensures our nation’s strategic capabilities to remain safe, secure, reliable, and ready,”Hyten said. “Sustained congressional support will ensure we remain ready, agile, and effective in deterring strategic attack, assuring our allies and partners today and into the future.”