The mission of U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM) has expanded well beyond deterrence of nuclear war, its commander, Air Force Gen. John Hyten, told an audience Sept. 22. In meeting the challenge, Hyten said, the country has some catching up to do.

Speaking at the Air Force Association’s Air, Space and Cyber Conference and Exposition in Oxon Hill, Md., Hyten termed Strategic Command’s mission as “a multi-polar, multi-domain problem,” according to Air Force Magazine. “We have to figure out what that means.”

Hyten welcomed the plan to reorganize Strategic Command into four components — air, maritime, space and missile defense, saying it would facilitate communications among the different organizations under his umbrella. Shedding responsibility for cyber security as that element becomes a separate command will enhance STRATCOM’s individual entities to understand their specific roles, Hyten told Air Force Magazine.

But reorganization alone does not address the critical need to improve the overall understanding of strategic threats in the present environment, Hyten said.
To foster more attention to the issue, Hyten has formed an alliance among 44 institutions of higher education, “all involved with us on looking at strategic deterrence in the 21st century,” he told Air Force Magazine.

Hyten specifically mentioned the work being done at Georgetown University, the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at Georgia Tech and the Nuclear-Threat initiative in Washington, D.C. The large D.C.-based think tanks, however have provided nothing significant to date, he said. “The best stuff I’ve read is Chinese, not American,” Hyten said.