USSTRACOM Head Urges Flexibility, Integration
Gen. C. Robert Kehler, USAF, who was installed as commander of the United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) earlier this year, discussed the role space plays in a new military environment during his remarks at the 27th National Space Symposium.
Kehler said that, although the fundamental nature of military conflict has not changed, the operating environment has. He cited:
- The fiscal environment (saying that "our financial security is our national security")
- Weapons of mass destruction
- The significant reduction in the time it takes to travel great distances
- The intermingling of cyberspace and space with land, sea and air
Then he discussed how USSTRATCOM is posturing itself to deal with these challenges and satisfy its mission of protecting, deterring and preventing attacks against the U.S. and its allies. "One of USSTRATCOM's priorities is to prepare for uncertainty," he said. "We need faster, more comprehensive awareness, strategic thinking, flexible planning, decentralized execution, rapid innovation and unprecedented information sharing."
According to Kehler, USSTRATCOM was specifically designed for decentralized operations, but the current environment calls for awareness across domains. "The ability to think about alternative futures and credible alternative scenarios is essential to strategic thinking," he said. "Flexible planning is one of those mission areas and supporting areas that will help us to deal with uncertainty... and a culture of innovation is essential to maintain superiority across mission areas - especially space and cyberspace."
Kehler acknowledged that innovation takes "real effort" and acceptance of risk, but it is worth the time and resources. He said that success is not possible if information sharing is limited, but sharing must be balanced with protecting national security. He outlined several near-term objectives toward that end:
- Expanding understanding of the battle space
- Orienting intelligence structures and processes to be more comprehensive
- Aligning strategic planning with current strategic constructs
- Implementing the national space strategy and national space security strategy
- Significantly increasing situational awareness and resiliency, with focus on mission assurance