Military News

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Stratcom Commander Discusses Strategic Deterrence Mission



By Lisa Ferdinando DoD News, Defense Media Activity

ARLINGTON, Va., Feb. 28, 2018 — Adversaries are evolving, and the United States needs to stay ahead of these threats to ensure it never enters a “fair fight,” the commander of U.S. Strategic Command said here today.

Air Force Gen. John E. Hyten said the top priority of his command is deterring the use of nuclear weapons, preventing the use of those weapons against the United States and its allies, and preventing a catastrophic space or cyberspace activity.

In a keynote address at the Association of the United States Army’s discussion on Army air and missile defense, Hyten commended the men and women of Stratcom who serve every day to defend the nation against threats.

“Our first priority: above all else, we will provide a strategic deterrent,” Hyten said. “If you are in a command that has all the global nuclear capabilities of our nation, that better be priority No. 1. But that is not the only thing that provides our strategic deterrent.”

If deterrence fails, the general said, Stratcom will provide “a decisive response -- and decisive in every way that word can mean.” That, he added, will be accomplished with a “combat-ready force trained, equipped and resilient to any threat that they face.”

He highlighted the elements of deterrence as “the ability to deny benefit to an adversary, impose cost on an adversary, and communicate that credibly to the adversary.”

NPR: Dealing With Threat-Based Problem

Hyten said the recently released Nuclear Posture Review addresses the nuclear threat “exactly right.” The general, who had a significant part in writing the document, said the posture is threat-based planning and threat-based answers to a threat-based problem.

“It has very specific recommendations based on the threat,” he said. “As a combatant commander, I can't look at the world the way I wish it was. I have to look at the world the way it is and deal with that threat that is out there, and the Nuclear Posture Review does just that.”

Adversaries Are Watching

Hyten said adversaries of the United States have been watching and are increasing their capabilities.

“Today we are still the most powerful, dominant military force on the planet, and there is no doubt that in any conflict today we would be superior in that conflict,” Hyten said. “But everybody in this room should be worried about 10 years from now. Will we still be in that place?”

He recommended finding ways to better integrate global capabilities, and said missile defense priorities include improved sensors, kill vehicles and capabilities. In addition, he called for speedier processes related to the budget and integrating new weapons systems.

“We take forever to do anything anymore -- and our adversaries are not suffering the same problem,” he said. He warned that if the nation fails to figure out “how to go fast again,” the adversaries will catch up.

“We should never get into a place where we're in an even fight, we're in a fair fight,” he said. “We should always be in a dominant position, because that allows us and our nation to reach out to our allies and do the things that we need to do in this world.”

Guardsmen, First Responders Partner to Fight Synthetic Opioids



By Army Capt. Tammy Muckenfuss 108th Public Affairs Detachment

WEST COLUMBIA, S.C., Feb. 28, 2018 — Soldiers from the South Carolina Army National Guard’s 43rd Civil Support Team joined with area first responders here Feb. 20-22 for a “micro lab” training course designed to teach them how to handle lab investigations and entries safely and effectively.

Network Environmental Services Inc., a company out of Folsom, California, trains military and civilian first responders across the country on safe measures and procedures in dealing with chemical and physical hazards presented by the illicit synthetic drug trade, using a combination of classroom and hands-on training to familiarize them with technical chemical terms and to see firsthand the processes drug dealers use to create the products they sell on the street.

The company’s instructors are police officer, former Drug Enforcement Agency employees and chemical experts.

Fentanyl Exposure

Michael Cashman, an instructor and retired DEA employee, “said fentanyl exposure is one problem first responders face.

In the last several years, law enforcement agencies have seen a dramatic increase in the availability of dangerous synthetic opioids, a large majority of which are derivatives of fentanyl, a synthetic analgesic 80 times more potent than morphine. The presence of synthetic opioids in the illicit U.S. drug market and the potency of these drugs has led to a significant increase in overdose incidents and overdose-related deaths throughout the nation.

“Fentanyl is not just a police problem, or a [civil support team] problem. It’s everyone’s problem,” Cashman said. “We are seeing more and more fatalities from fentanyl exposure. The goal of this training is safety. We want to make sure that when these guys enter a situation and see evidence of fentanyl, they know what to do.”

The class reinforces what to look for to recognize and reduce the dangers of fentanyl exposure for first responders. Since fentanyl can be ingested orally, inhaled through the nose or mouth, or absorbed through the skin or eyes, any substance suspected to contain fentanyl must be treated with extreme caution as exposure to even a small amount can lead to significant health-related complications, respiratory depression, or death.

New Threat Environment

Army Lt. Col. James Bowling, the 43rd CST commander, coordinated the training with local first responders and civilian partners to increase his team’s readiness to respond in multiagency civilian incidents.

“The threat environment has changed,” he said. “What we are seeing is that homemade explosives, weapons of mass destruction, hazardous materials, and even clandestine lab processes often look very much the same and have a lot of the same ingredients and precursors. What this training does is increase our situational awareness. When the CST and our civilian partners respond to a call, we have to know what to look for to ensure everyone’s safety.”

“Providing this level of specialized training for our Civil Support Team and civilian law enforcement partners is critical during an incident response,” said Army Maj. Gen. Robert E. Livingston, South Carolina’s adjutant general. “These soldiers are on the front lines every day safeguarding our communities. Therefore, their safety is a top priority.”

Crews Provide Aeromedical Evacuation Capabilities in Cope North Exercise



By Air Force Airman 1st Class Juan Torres Chardon 374th Airlift Wing

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam, Feb. 28, 2018 — Air Force C-130J Super Hercules and C-12J Huron aircrews assigned to Yokota Air Base, Japan, are participating in this year’s Cope North exercise here, which began Feb. 11 and runs to March 2.

During the humanitarian assistance and disaster relief portion of Cope North, one of the primary training objectives for both aircraft is aeromedical evacuation.

“Aeromedical evacuations are a big C-130 platform in the U.S,” said Air Force Maj. Cerre Dolby, C-130J evaluator pilot. “Out in the Pacific, or at least in Yokota, it’s primarily a C-12 mission. Usually there’s one or two people that need treatment and the C-12s are launched. During a big [humanitarian assistance and disaster relief] exercise, there’s more people that need movement than what the C-12 can support, and that’s when they call the C-130J’s”

This year’s scenario included a simulated earthquake on Tinian, U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, which allowed the Yokota-based crew to prepare for possible real-life emergencies.

“It’s been incumbent upon us to figure out what these people need as far as supplies in these hypothetical scenarios,” said Dolby. “It’s given us, as an aircrew, some insight on how we work together and how we’re going to put these litters and patients on our aircraft.”

Bolstering Capabilities

While Cope North 2018 has allowed the Yokota C-130J aircrews a rare opportunity to participate in a multinational aeromedical evacuation exercise, this kind of mission is a common occurrence for C-12 crews at their home station. Still, the exercise provides an opportunity for the C-12 crews to bolster this capability alongside partners in the region.

“[Cope North] is essential, not only to increase interoperability with allied nations, but also to better our understanding of medical procedures performed during our [aeromedical evacuation] missions,” said Air Force Maj. Lane Riddell, 459th Airlift Squadron C-12 mission commander. “It provides a training ground to learn from others, which enables us to potentially help more patients.”

Cope North began in 1978 as a quarterly bilateral exercise held at Misawa Air Base, Japan, and moved here in 1999.

Today, the annual exercise serves as an opportunity to promote stability and security throughout the Indo-Pacific region by enabling regional forces to hone vital readiness skills and increase interoperability.