Contact: Josh Holly-202.226.3988
Washington, D.C. – Rep. Terry Everett (R-AL), Ranking Republican on the Strategic Forces Subcommittee released the following opening statement for today’s hearing on the posture of the U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM):
“First and foremost, I would like to echo the Chairman’s comments and thank General Cartwright for appearing before us today. We’ve had several opportunities this year to meet with you, and we appreciate each time you come back. We also know that behind you is a whole staff of dedicated, professional men and women working 24hours a day, 7 days a week to support STRATCOM’s missions. We are grateful for the job you and your staff do for our nation.
“As the first Marine Corp officer to lead STRATCOM, you have brought your “get it done” mind-set to the Command and broken down barriers to get the job done. Under your commendable leadership, I’ve seen STRATCOM transform the way it does business. Innovations like your “ski” (strategic knowledge information) web—best described as a classified blog—has brought operators, intelligence analysts and decision-makers together, in real-time, to share information.
“As the Chairman remarked, this is an important hearing for our subcommittee. Our nation’s strategic posture serves as the framework for identifying the composition of our strategic forces and the capabilities we need.
“During the Cold War, our deterrence strategy and strategic posture was rather simple and focused: ensure mutually assured destruction by possessing a survivable second strike nuclear capability.
“The Pentagon’s 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) recognized that today’s threats are markedly different and require tailored deterrence. While STRATCOM must retain a strong nuclear deterrent, it must also posture itself with wide-ranging capabilities to address new security challenges that include:
- Non-state terrorist networks, which are undeterred by traditional strategic bombers and nuclear weapons;
- Rogue nations like North Korea and Iran, who are pursuing missile and nuclear capabilities, and proliferating; and
- Advanced military powers, like China, whose unofficial doctrine advocates asymmetric warfare.
“I expect you’ll talk to these challenges and how they have affected STRATCOM’s missions, strategic posture, and pursuit of new capabilities.
“There are several key issues germane to the nation’s strategic posture in the areas of space, missile defense, and nuclear forces, that I would ask you to discuss today. In the space arena, I am most concerned about our ability to protect our space assets. China’s recent anti-satellite test was clearly a shot across the bow. However, it is one among several capabilities that China and others are developing which pose a serious threat to U.S. space assets. To the extent you can discuss this in an open forum, I’d appreciate your thoughts on the warfighter’s space protection and survivability needs and how this event might influence the composition of our future space forces and architecture.
“Combatant commanders in previous testimonies have stated their need for more missile defense inventory to keep pace with the threat. Just yesterday, the PACOM and U.S. Forces Korea commanders made a similar statement. I would like your assessment of how well the Combatant Commanders need for missile defense capabilities and operational support is being met, and where opportunities for improvement exist.
“In 2006, this committee drafted and enacted, with bipartisan support, legislation setting forth the objectives of the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW) program. I continue to strongly support RRW as the means to achieving a safer, secure, and more reliable nuclear weapon for our strategic forces.
“General, as the agent responsible for the operational readiness of our nation’s nuclear forces, please explain why you have greater confidence in RRW over the long-term than life extension programs. Additionally, though it is still very early in the design phase, there will be future decisions on: RRW quantities, legacy stockpile life extensions and dismantlement, and delivery system modernization. Please comment on these moving parts and discuss any force structure planning that STRATCOM has underway.
“Lastly, I’d appreciate a discussion of gaps or shortfalls and challenges you face in the areas of intelligence; command, control and communications; and cyberspace. STRATCOM is a truly global command with a breadth of missions befitting that global scope.”