STRATCOM commander addresses nuclear challenges

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — The com­man­der of the U.S. Strate­gic Com­mand addressed nuclear deter­rence chal­lenges at the Air Force Asso­ci­a­tion Air & Space Con­fer­ence and Tech­nol­o­gy Expo­si­tion 2010 here Sept. 13.

Gen. Kevin P. Chilton out­lined the command’s frame­work to meet ever-chang­ing and com­plex require­ments in a mod­ern, geo-polit­i­cal environment. 

“The pur­pose of a deter­rence force is to cre­ate a set of con­di­tions that would cause any poten­tial adver­sary to con­clude that the cost of any par­tic­u­lar act against the (U.S.) or her allies is far high­er than the poten­tial ben­e­fit of that act,” Gen­er­al Chilton said. “Deter­rence is ulti­mate­ly focused on the deci­sion maker.” 

The gen­er­al also explained it is just as impor­tant to study mul­ti­ple poten­tial adver­saries with nuclear capa­bil­i­ties and dif­fer­ing views as it was to study a sin­gle adver­sary dur­ing the Cold War. 

“The num­ber of actors with nuclear capa­bil­i­ties has changed since the start of the Cold War and that has changed the geo-polit­i­cal envi­ron­ment today,” he said. “Dur­ing the Cold War, the U.S. and the Sovi­ets had sim­i­lar stakes in the game — nation­al survival.” 

Today’s nuclear envi­ron­ment caus­es the U.S. to have to ana­lyze who and what to deter, and under what cir­cum­stances to con­duct this deter­rence, the gen­er­al said. 

Robust warn­ing and attri­bu­tion sys­tems, sus­tained com­mand and con­trol, viable deliv­ery plat­form vehi­cles and a safe, secure, effec­tive war­head are a must as the U.S. moves for­ward in its nuclear objec­tives, the gen­er­al said. 

“I have every con­fi­dence in today’s gen­er­a­tion of Air­men; that they will rise to the chal­lenges and will be suc­cess­ful in assur­ing the effec­tive­ness of the nuclear deter­rent of the (U.S.) for gen­er­a­tions,” Gen­er­al Chilton said. “Because above all else, the great­est ser­vice we pro­vide when we wear this uni­form is not win­ning our nation’s wars, but pre­vent­ing them from ever happening.” 

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