Cyber, Space, Middle East
Join Nuclear Triad Topics at Deterrence Meeting
By Cheryl Pellerin, DoD News,
Defense Media Activity.
Washington D.C. — (DOD
News) — July 27, 2016 — The nuclear triad still is seen as a critical
deterrent against aggression by U.S. adversaries, but all speakers during a U.S.
Strategic Command meeting panel today also discussed the need for deterrence in
the cyber and space domains, and the Middle East.
A U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress
drops Mark 82 bombs during a combined live-fire demonstration
Stratcom commander Navy Adm. Cecil D. Haney introduced the
panel on Building Deterrence and Assurance Capacity in a Changing Political
Landscape in La Vista, Nebraska, at the Stratcom 2016 Deterrence Symposium.
Panel speakers included Army Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti, commander, U.S.
European Command, Brian McKeon, acting undersecretary of defense for policy, and
Army Gen. Joseph L. Votel, commander of U.S. Central Command.
In his remarks, Haney, who said deterring strategic attack on
the United States and assuring its allies is his top priority, spoke about the
challenging strategic landscape and the importance of maintaining strategic
stability in the 21st century. But he also discussed Stratcom’s attention to
space and cyber. “Our nation's strategic nuclear deterrent force remains safe,
secure and effective and ready, and we're working hard to improve resiliency and
flexibility in space and cyberspace,” he told the audience.
“In response to increased threats we are strengthening our
cyber defenses and increasing options available in case of strategic attack,” he
About Eucom, Scaparrotti also noted that deterrence is
multidomain. “In the cyber domain Eucom stood up the Joint Cyber Center,”
he said, “and following the U.S. lead, NATO has recognized cyberspace as an
operational domain. Allies have pledged to strengthen their networks and
integrate cyber defense operations into operations and planning.”
In his remarks McKeon said DoD is renewing its focus on
integrating conventional and nuclear planning and operations because of "recent
developments in how we see potential adversaries preparing for conflict." Today the department faces a deterrence challenge in what is
sometimes called the gray zone at the low end of the conflict spectrum, he said.
Gray zone confrontations occur just below the level of armed
conflict but involve military-backed coercion. Groups in the gray zone can use
individually small steps in aggression “such that an open confrontation against
one act may seem out of proportion but taking no action will yield an
unacceptable outcome,” McKeon said.
Having credible conventional capabilities is a key
requirement for taking effective action, he added. “We are safest and our military most effective when we can
credibly establish a deterrent force across the entire spectrum of possible
military operations in all domains. We must also consider how to assure stable
and effective deterrence in the face of increased competition in space and cyber,”
the undersecretary said.
Space and Cyber
Space has played a role in U.S. deterrence since the dawn of
the space age, and today's space systems continue to support strategic missions
while enabling military forces to project power globally, McKeon said. Space capability has multiplied the speed, effectiveness and
impact of a conventional response that allows the nation to respond swiftly and
decisively to aggression without using nuclear weapons, underpinning the U.S.
conventional deterrence posture, McKeon added.
“We can raise the cost against any potential attacker by a
variety of means, including combining our space forces with those of our allies,
and increasing military costs by creating space systems that force an adversary
up the escalatory ladder -- a ladder he may not wish to climb,” he said.
In the face of this threat the department is transforming its
space architectures and operations to assure the use of space capabilities and
services, McKeon said.
In the cyber domain the department confronts a range of state
and non-state actors. Traditional deterrence theory does not always apply to
non-state actors and attributing cyberattacks can be difficult, McKeon said. “As in space we depend on this domain for operations [but] we
are still learning our way around this domain both in strengthening our defenses
and in building up the cyber mission forces that will provide the backbone for
the future,” he said, noting that the department is making investments now in
funding, manpower, training and thought work to prepare for the future.
Deterrence in the Middle East
In his remarks, Votel described what deterrence does for
Air Force Capt. Cody daMota poses for a photo aboard the
Personnel Transfer Vessel Malama
It prevents situations and confrontations from elevating into open conflict, the
general said. It helps influence and change behavior and decision making, helps
assure allies in the region and other partners who have vital interests there,
helps provide a mechanism for deescalating in the region, and it helps
contribute to stability, he added.
Deterrence plays a critical role in the combatant command’s
comprehensive approach to security and stability across the area of
responsibility, Votel added.
There are “three ways I think about deterrence and how we are
working to achieve the effects of deterrence in conjunction with a variety of
other things that we have going on in this region,” Votel said.
One is through posture and presence, including long-term
relationships with countries like Egypt; efforts to formalize basing with
countries like Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain; and a continued focus on agreements in
place for access, bases and oversight with countries in the region, he said.
Two is by building partner capacity and capability, the
general said, for example in working with coalition and indigenous partners on
the ground, through exercises, through the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program
and through professionalism and institution building with partners in the region.
Three, he said, is through fostering long-term relationships,
including military-to-military relationships, throughout the region.
“Deterrence is a key aspect that's built into a lot of how we
approach this very complex and oftentimes troublesome region of 20 countries,”
Votel said. “It plays a critical role in what we do.”
(Follow Cheryl Pellerin on Twitter: @PellerinDoDNews)
Navy Adm. Cecil D. Haney
Army Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti
Brian P. McKeon
Army Gen. Joseph L. Votel
U.S. Strategic Command