Thursday, August 02, 2018

Stratcom Commander Highlights Readiness of the Force

By Lisa Ferdinando, DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON -- The men and women of U.S. Strategic Command are ready to respond to any threat, Stratcom’s commander said yesterday in La Vista, Nebraska.

Speaking to reporters during a deterrence symposium, Air Force Gen. John E. Hyten  noted positive developments regarding North Korea, including the United States and South Korea engaging in talks with that country.

There is the potential for denuclearization, he added. “I can tell you from a Stratcom perspective, any time statements are coming out [and] politicians are talking, I’m much happier,” Hyten said. “Nonetheless, our responsibility is to always be ready -- and so we will always be ready.”

The force is fully ready and fully postured to deal with any threat that comes out of North Korea, the general said. “The missile defense capabilities in Alaska are fully prepared, California [is] fully prepared, and our deterrent force is on alert, fully prepared right now,” he stressed.

Nuclear Capabilities Not Only Priority

Hyten opened the two-day Stratcom conference yesterday by explaining that deterrence encompasses more than just nuclear capabilities. The purpose of the conference, he said, is for the command to engage with others about what deterrence means in the 21st century.

He outlined Stratcom’s three priorities: to provide a strategic deterrent for the United States and its allies, provide a decisive response if deterrence fails, and act with a combat-ready force.

“The nuclear capabilities provide the backstop. It is the most important element of it,” he said. “It is the first priority, but it can’t be the only priority.”

The United States has to look at nuclear, space, cyber, conventional and all the pieces that come together, he said, and “work with our allies to create the environment where peace can take hold in the world.”

Same Goal, Changing Security Environment

The goal of deterrence remains the same since the original discussions on the topic in the 1960s, Hyten said. That objective, he noted, is to impose costs on an adversary, deny benefit to that adversary and make sure that the capabilities are communicated credibly so the adversary will not act.

But what has changed since the 1960s, he pointed out, is the global security environment.

“Today we have not just one adversary, we have many potential adversaries, and everything that we do in all parts of the world impacts everybody else,” Hyten said.

Honoring Those Who Serve

The deterrence mission is possible because of the men and women dedicated to safeguarding the nation, Hyten said.

“We have to have our most precious resource put out in front to make sure we do that job,” he said. “That most precious resource is our sons and daughters.”

Stratcom comprises 162,000 service members who are serving around the globe, Hyten said. “They climb down into the holes of the missile fields and they climb onto a submarine and they go on alert. They fly the bombers. They go to work in the space business,” he added.

Deterrence is an active mission, Hyten said, and Stratcom’s men and women are trained, resilient and equipped to do the job.

“Deterrence does not exist just because we have capability,” he said. “It has to be capability that is practiced, that is ready, that our adversaries know [is] ready, and we’re able to respond to any threat that comes after the United States of America.”

Face of Defense: Husband, Wife Become Citizen-Soldiers Together

By Stephanie Beougher, Ohio National Guard

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Irene and Nate Miller met through mutual friends in their picturesque home town of Chagrin Falls in northeast Ohio's Geauga County and have been married for four years. They're best friends and, according to Irene, do everything together -- including joining the Ohio Army National Guard at the same time.

They said they each have wanted to join the military since they were young, and recently started to look at putting the idea into action. They were hesitant to go on active duty because they didn't want to move far from work, school and family.

"We had endless conversations about every possible angle, and eventually decided to check out the guard, since we would be able to have one foot in the civilian world while still serving our country, Irene said.

Nate added, "We can continue to live where we do and we will have more time to see each other than if we went active duty.

Dual-Military Families

Statistics aren't kept on the number of married spouses entering service at the same time, but dual-military marriages are rare. Although the Army National Guard does not track dual-military marriages, a 2015 report by the Defense Department put the figure at 2.6 percent among the National Guard and Reserve.

"I've talked with our recruiters in other parts of the state and no one can remember a recent case where a married couple joined together, said the Millers’ recruiter, Army Sgt. Noah Siegner, with the Ohio Army National Guard Recruiting and Retention Battalion.

"They're an awesome couple and I think they'll be very successful in the Ohio Army National Guard,” Siegner said.

The Millers, both 27 years old, raised their right hands at the Military Entrance Processing Station in Cleveland on May 25 to take their oaths in the Ohio Army National Guard. They're scheduled to go to basic training in October, and will be assigned to the 1484th Transportation Company, based in North Canton, Ohio. Irene will train to be a human resources specialist while Nate will train to be a motor transport operator.

While the Millers can't wait to get started, each said they understand it will be challenging balancing a military commitment and a marriage.

"The biggest challenge will be [to be] separated for almost six months while we go through basic and advanced individual training, but we're committed to making our relationship the first priority,” Nate said.

"We are both going to be busy with our separate commitments, and taking the time to just enjoy each other's company could be a challenge, Irene said. "If possible, we'll try to go on a date once a week and keep those communication lines open.”