On Track To Face 2 Peer Nuclear-Capable Competitors
by David Vergun, DOD News
September 22, 2020
Russian and Chinese military capabilities are growing, said the
commander of U.S. Strategic Command, who outlined steps the
department is taking to meet those challenges.
''Our competitors have continued to develop non-strategic and
strategic capabilities in an effort to outpace us,'' Navy Adm.
Charles ''Chas'' A. Richard said during a Pentagon press briefing
on September 14, 2020.
U.S. Navy Adm. Charles "Chas" A. Richard, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, provides an update on the command's mission and readiness during the COVID-19 pandemic at the Pentagon on September 14, 2020. (U.S. Department of Defense photo by Lisa Ferdinando)
''We are on a trajectory for the first time in our
nation's history to face two peer nuclear-capable competitors who
have to be deterred differently, and we're working very hard to meet
that challenge,'' he said.
Richard mentioned that the nations
are not just increasing their nuclear capabilities, but they're also
involved in military ventures in space and cyberspace and are
advancing key weapons systems, including hypersonics.
[is] developing a stack of capabilities inconsistent with their
stated 'no-first use' policy,'' he added. For instance, Beijing is
now capable of threatening the U.S. homeland with its ballistic
missile submarine fleet.
In response to these challenges,
Richard said U.S. Stratcom has been modernizing all of its
For instance, the Nuclear Command, Control and
Communications Enterprise Center (dubbed NC3) is progressing nicely
and will eventually be nested with the Joint All-Domain Command and
Control, he said.
JADC2 is a combination of new technology
and processes that will enable the joint force to connect sensors,
data and communications with shooters. NC3 is the nuclear forces
command and control element.
In another example, Richard said
bomber task force missions are operating worldwide and, in
particular, they're supporting allies and partners in the U.S.
European Command and U.S. Indo-Pacific Command areas of
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the 150,000
personnel at U.S. Stratcom are continuing to do their work, either
on-site or remotely, he said.
''We are fully mission
capable,'' he said. ''The bottom line is we're ready.''
Sustaining the Nuclear Triad image created by USA Patriotism! from the original graphic created by U.S. Air Force Kent Bingham, 75th Air Base Wing Public Affairs.
A positive result of the pandemic is that personnel were able to
efficiently and effectively telework and engage in distributed
learning, Richard said, adding that his command will not go back to
the way it did business before the pandemic, meaning he'd like to
keep a lot of this capability in place permanently.
to U.S. Stratcom's mission statement, the command's purpose is to
deter strategic attack and employ forces, as directed, to guarantee
the security of our nation and our allies.
United States Strategic
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