Thursday, September 7, 2017

Israeli Police Make Six Arrests Over ThyssenKrupp 'Submarine Affair'

Staff, Deutsche Welle
3 September 2017

Israeli police arrested six people on Sunday amid a widening corruption probe into the deals for submarines and naval vessels agreed between the government and German industrial giant ThyssenKrupp.
In a statement, police said the six suspects were detained on suspicion of "economic and integrity offenses."
Authorities did not name those in detention, but the Haaretz newspaper reported that the group included "a former senior official in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's bureau" as well as several high-ranking naval officers.
In July, Thyssenkrupp issued a statement saying it had found no evidence of corruption in its handling of the $2 billion (1.69 billion euro) contract to sell submarines and naval patrol craft to Israel. "Based on the investigative measures we were able to carry out, we found no concrete indications of corruption - neither with regard to submarine projects, nor in connection with the procurement of corvettes," it said, adding the investigation results were "provisional."
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's relative and family lawyer, David Shimron, was cited in reports of the case when retired naval captain Michael Ganor, ThyssenKrupp's former representative in Israel, claimed he was due to earn large amounts of money from the agreement to buy three submarines from Germany.
Germany then said it would not sign off on the arms deal, originally agreed in October 2016, until the investigation into possible corruption was complete. The signing of a memorandum of understanding on the German sale of the three submarines to Israel was postponed in July.
According to television reports in July, Ganor told police that Shimron's commission from the deal between the Israeli state and ThyssenKrupp was to be 20 percent of Ganor's own fee from the German company for brokering it.
The scandal has also touched Avriel Bar-Yosef, a former deputy head of the National Security Council and Eliezer Marom, the former commander of the Israeli Navy. The pair, along with Shimron, have denied any wrongdoing.
ThyssenKrupp rep and his lawyer
Ganor signed a state’s witness arrangement with Israel’s justice ministry in July. In exchange for a reduced sentence of a year in prison and a $2.8 million fine, he agreed to disclose everything he knew.
Netanyahu's lawyer Shimron also acted for Ganor and was allegedly involved in many of his business dealings. Netanyahu reportedly suggested more submarines be bought than the defense chiefs had recommended, but he has denied knowing about his lawyer’s involvement in the arms deals.
The Israeli Justice Ministry has said that Prime Minister Netanyahu is not a suspect in the case.
According to its website: "Virtually no shipyard the world over has more experience in the design and construction of non-nuclear submarines than ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems with its Operating Unit Submarines (Kiel). The Operating Unit is a partner of the German Navy and has also delivered submarines for coastal and blue water deployment to the navies of 19 other countries."

Indian Navy Bids Adieu to INS Sindhurakshak, Sinks Graveyard of 18 Navy Men

Staff, Financial Express
5 September 2017

In August 2013, a huge fire broke out on board the vessel while it was docked at the naval dockyard in Mumbai. The fire led to a series of explosions. This incident led to the deaths of 18 Navy personnel, including three officers.
The Indian Navy has sunk the Indian Naval Submarine (INS) Sindhurakshak four years after a series of explosions on board the submarine claimed the lives of 18 Naval personnel, states a report in the Indian Express. The Navy had decommissioned the submarine earlier this year after two Boards of Inquiry (BoI) stated that the submarine was ‘not seaworthy’. The submarine had been used by the Navy for target practice by the Marine Commandos (Marcos) of the Indian Navy and was sunk recently, according to an Indian Express report.
A top official of the Navy told the Indian Express, “We lost officers and sailors on board the Sindhurakshak. The vessel is akin to a grave site for us and for this reason, we will not scrap the submarine. The submarine was sunk by Marine Commandos after we tested the viability of using the submarine for target practice.” The senior naval officer went on to add that the berth occupied by the vessel on the dock has been cleared and is now being used by other vessels.
In August 2013, a huge fire broke out on board the vessel while it was docked at the naval dockyard in Mumbai. The fire led to a series of explosions. This incident led to the deaths of 18 Navy personnel, including three officers. The 3,000-tonne vessel then sank in the South Breakwater of the naval dockyard. In January 2015 the Navy contracted the Indian arm of US-based Resolve Marine to salvage the submarine. The submarine was then salvaged by the firm in June of that year and handed over to the Navy. The then Navy Chief, Admiral DK Joshi resigned from his post taking moral responsibility for a spate of incidents including the Sindhurakshak, as per an Indian Express report.

Navy Upgrades Attack Submarine Weapons Controls, Sensors

Kris Osborn, Scout Warrior
4 September 2017

Sensors, sonar, weapons control, quieting technologies, undersea drones and communications systems provide the vital arenas through which the US Navy will seek to sustain and build upon its advantage beneath the surface of the ocean.
With this in mind, the Navy’s Virginia-Class Attack Submarines are being upgraded with a new Tactical Control System (TCS) technology to provide weapons control, improved network subsystems, and faster component modernization, a Pentagon announcement said.
The idea with fast evolving TCS and other undersea controls and networking technologies is to engineer a circumstance wherein U.S. submarines can operate undetected in or near enemy waters or coastline, conduct reconnaissance or attack missions and sense any movement or enemy activities at farther ranges than adversaries can.
Along these lines, Navy leaders say the service is making progress developing new acoustics, sensors and quieting technologies to ensure the U.S. retains its technological edge in the undersea domain – as countries like China and Russia continue rapid military modernization and construction of new submarines.
A key element of improving TCS for the submarines includes ongoing Navy efforts to expedite integration of emerging commercial hardware and software.
The current pace of technological changes, including miniaturized components, faster processing speed, new undersea communications possibilities and developing quieting technologies requires submarine operators to quickly integrate the newest innovations as they emerge.
TCS integrates sensor inputs to provide a common operational picture and enhance information assurance for attack and guided missile submarines, according to statements from General Dynamics Mission Systems.
Hardening security and solidifying information assurance between sensors, electronics and data systems is a crucial component of the technical improvements being sought after for TCS. A more secure, interoperable technological system, General Dynamics Mission Systems says, “exploits the power of sonar, electronic support measures, radar, navigation, periscopes and communication."
A key reason for integrating COTS into the Virginia class submarines is because the newer submarines rely heavily on computer technology, automation and advanced sensors.
According to the Navy, TCS makes use of advanced equipment through commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) technology and upgrades it with a practice called Acoustic Rapid COTS Insertion.
“By adapting off-the-shelf technology to upgrading Virginia class, the Navy and its contractors are able to exploit the latest commercial advances while saving money. The commercial sector typically leads the military in fielding cutting-edge electronics, so it makes sense to leverage what's available in the marketplace in support of naval needs,” Loren Thompson, Chief Operating Officer at Lexington Institute, told Scout Warrior.
The Navy will continue to work with GD over a period of more than eight years to sustain the initiative to integrate COTS technologies into the submarine fleet. The most recent deal included a $36 million modification to the arrangement.
Commercially developed software and information are provided openly and freely to the TCS development community of contractors, laboratories, and universities as well as other DOD organizations and partners.
Throughout each development and integration cycle, which takes place on a biennial schedule, the software and system design information is provided at set increments.
This is designed to allow for frequent evaluation and testing by the end user, GD said.
In today’s increasingly contested undersea domain, attack submarines are increasingly performing ISR missions since they are able to reach areas closer to enemy coastline than some surface ships.
Compared to older Navy attack subs like the Los Angeles class, the Virginia class submarines are engineered to bring vastly improved littoral warfare, surveillance and open ocean capabilities, service officials said.
The Virginia-class submarines are designed with this “Fly-by-Wire” capability which allows the ship to quietly linger in shallow waters without having to surface or have each small move controlled by a human operator.
With this technology, a human operator will order depth and speed, allowing software to direct the movement of the planes and rudder to maintain course and depth.
The Block III Virginia class submarines also have a Large Aperture Bow conformal array sonar system that is designed to send out an acoustic ping, analyze the return signal, and provide the location and possible contours of enemy ships, submarines and other threats.
Recent innovations, many details of which are secret and not available, include quieting technologies for the engine room to make the submarine harder to detect, a new large vertical array and additional coating materials for the hull, Navy officials and developers have explained.
Acoustic sensor technology works by using underwater submarine sensors to detect sound “pings” in order to determine the contours, speed and range of an enemy ship, submarine or approaching weapon. Much like radar
analyzes the return electromagnetic signal bounced off an object, acoustics works by using “sound” in a similar fashion. Most of the undersea acoustic technology is “passive,” meaning it is engineered to receive pings and “listen” without sending out a signal which might reveal their undersea presence or location to an enemy, experts have said.
Described as a technology insertion, the improvements will be integrated on board both Virginia-Class submarines and the now-in -development next-generation nuclear-armed boats called the Columbia-Class. .
The Navy’s acoustic technological advancement effort is immersed in performing tactical assessments as well as due diligence from an academic standpoint to make sure the service looks at all the threat vectors – whether that be hydrodynamics, acoustics, lasers, among others.
The emerging technologies, however, are heavily focused upon sensitive, passive acoustic sensors able to detect movement and objects of potential adversary boats and ships at much further ranges and with a higher-degree of fidelity.
While high-frequency, fast two-way communication is currently difficult to sustain from the undersea domain, submarines are able to use a Very Low Frequency radio to communicate while at various depths beneath the surface.
Senior Navy officials have explained that the innovations brought to fruition with these recent efforts do, at least in part, help address an issue raised by a report more than a year ago by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.
The report, titled “The Emerging Era in Undersea Warfare,” says the technological margin of difference separating the U.S from potential rivals is expected to get much smaller. This is requiring the U.S. to re-think the role of manned submarines and prioritize innovation in the realm of undersea warfare, the study says.
“America’s superiority in undersea warfare results from decades of research and development, operations, and training. It is, however, far from assured. U.S. submarines are the world’s quietest, but new detection techniques are emerging that don’t rely on the noise a submarine makes, and may make traditional manned submarine operations far more risky in the future. America’s competitors are likely pursuing these technologies even while expanding their own undersea forces,” writes the report’s author Bryan Clark.
In the report, Clark details some increasingly available technologies expected to change the equation regarding U.S. undersea technological supremacy. They include increased use of lower frequency active sonar and non-acoustic methods of detecting submarine wakes at short ranges. In particular, Clark cites a technique of bouncing laser light or light-emitting-diodes off of a submarine hull to detect its presence.
“The physics behind most of these alternative techniques has been known for decades, but was not exploited because computer processors were too slow to run the detailed models needed to see small changes in the environment caused by a quiet submarine. Today, ‘big dat’” processing enables advanced navies to run sophisticated oceanographic models in real time to exploit these detection techniques,” Clark writes.
A Congressional report from several years ago states that Chinese modernization plans call for a sharp increase in attack submarines and nuclear-armed submarines or SSBNs. Chinese SSBNs are now able to patrol with nuclear-armed JL-2 missiles able to strike targets more than 4,500 nautical miles.
The Chinese are currently working on a new, modernized SSBN platform as well as a long-range missile, the JL-3, Congressional information says.

S. Korea Launches New 1,800-Ton Submarine

Staff, Yonhap News Agency
7 September 2017

SEOUL – South Korea on Thursday launched a new 1,800-ton submarine, characterizing it as a "strategic dagger" to strike precisely at a range of targets.
The launch of the diesel-electric submarine wrapped up the Navy's KSS-II acquisition program, which began in 2000, for the introduction of nine 1,800-ton 214-class submarines.
"It's a national strategic dagger capable of precisely striking not only the enemy's ships and submarines but also ground targets deep inland," Adm. Um Hyun-seong, the Navy chief of staff, said during the launch ceremony at the Hyundai Heavy Industries shipyard in Ulsan.
The Sin Dol Seok sub is named after a famous Korean admiral who led the country's fight against Japanese aggression in the late 1890s and early 1900s.
Equipped with South Korea's indigenous 1,000-kilometer-range cruise missile, it is 65 meters long and 6.3 meters wide, and it can sail at a maximum speed of 20 knots.
The Navy plans to put it into operation in 2019 after a series of tests.
It will increase the number of the Navy's submarines to 18. The Navy will begin to introduce 3,000-ton submarines in 2020.

Russia’s New ‘Invisible’ Nuclear Submarines Will Be Undetectable to Enemy Forces

Mikhail Klikushin, Observer
6 September 2017

“In the whole world, Russia has only two true allies,” Russian Tsar Alexander III “The Peacemaker” loved to explain to his advisors, “her Army and her Navy.” Almost 150 years later, Russians wholeheartedly support this motto. In 2015, Vladimir Putin happily repeated it while answering a concerned citizen’s question.
Ten years ago, Russia started to ambitiously modernize her ground and air forces. The country successfully demonstrated the results in Syria and last week declared “the end of the civil war” there.
Russia is modernizing the Navy too, with heavy emphasis on a new class of noiseless nuclear submarines.
The newest Russian nuclear submarines of the Borey-A and Yasen-M classes will soon be invisible to the sonar radars of NATO submarines, anti-submarine ships and aircraft, reports Russian newspaper Izvestia. The submarines will be equipped with new, sealed pumps. The circulation of liquids in the submarine’s reactor, the cooling of its systems and equipment, the submarine’s surfacing and diving, and, most importantly, the filling of torpedo launch tubes with water before firing all depend on the pumps.
The noise from these pumps is a major risk and detection factor for any submarine.
The technical characteristics of these new noiseless sealed pumps are top secret, since they define the physical portrait of each particular submarine. If these parameters become known, the submarine can be easily detected against the background of natural noises in the ocean.
“The amount of noise that a submarine makes is influenced by a lot of factors,” Vladimir Shcherbakov, an expert on naval weaponry, told the newspaper. “First of all, it’s influenced by the main power plant—the nuclear reactor, pumps, diesel engines, shafts, propellers and water jets. In the case of propellers and water jets, noise reduction is achieved by improving their designs. Reducing the detectability of working diesel engines or of auxiliary motors can be achieved with the help of suspension systems and rubber mats onto which they are placed. It’s more complicated with the reactor, since it cannot be placed on the vibro-platform or covered with rugs. Therefore, it’s possible to achieve noise reduction by improving the operation of the reactor’s pumps. The noise of continuously circulating liquid is the loudest sound on the nuclear submarine.”
Moscow promised to build 5 Borey-A and 6 Yasen-M class nuclear submarines by 2020.
In addition to noiseless pumps, these Russian submarines will be equipped with “wet” mufflers to fire torpedoes. New torpedo launch tubes have also been designed to make Russian submarines invisible. They work the same way as silencers on small arms; they drown out the sound of the shot.
Currently, Russian submarines’ torpedo launch tubes are built based on the air-pressure method, meaning that the torpedo’s launch is achieved by highly compressed air. The system requires several minutes to prepare and limits the depth application of torpedoes to 1,000 to 1,300 feet. It also makes the submarine visible to its enemy’s sonic radars, which easily pick up on the noise that the compressed air makes while entering and leaving the torpedo launch tubes. After the torpedo is fired, air bubbles left behind reveal the submarine’s location.
Russian nuclear submarines’ new “wet” torpedo launch tubes will operate on unique impulse-turbo-pump engines that can drive 1,321 gallons of water through their systems in a single second.
“Modern Russian torpedoes will be placed into the launch tubes already in drowned state,” Roman Pykhtin, executive director of the “Vane Hydraulic Machine”
company that produces the launch tubes, told Izvestia. “The crew just has to press the button, and our pump instantly creates the necessary water pressure. As a result, the torpedo will be propelled 23 feet from the submarine. It is the safe distance at which the torpedo’s engine turns on, and the missile starts pursuing its target.”
“Preparation for torpedo launch is a very noisy experience,” Viktor Karavaev, lead designer of the nuclear submarines, told Izvestia. “The process takes only minutes, but it is enough for an enemy to ‘hear’ that an attack is being prepared and take retaliatory measures. Under water, the opening of the torpedo launch tube alone is audible for miles. A new impulse-electronic trigger system provides the weapon’s instant launch, which remains completely unnoticed by the enemy since no preliminary steps, no ‘impulse’ of the launch, and no subsequent perturbations of the environment occur.”
Vadim Kozyulin, professor of the Academy of Military Science in Russia, said that the deployment of the “wet” torpedo launch tubes excludes the use of compressed air, which means that firing missiles will be entirely noiseless and hidden. He explains, “The maximum depth of torpedo weapons’ ‘air’ launch is 1,000 feet. Deeper, it gets impossible to produce the necessary air pressure inside the torpedo launch tube. Modern submarines descend up to 1,650 feet. Currently, a unique deep sea submarine is being created in Russia. It’s the underwater robot carrier ‘Khabarovsk.’ According to available information, the depth of her immersion is 3,280 feet. The use of the impulse-turbo-pump systems for launching torpedo weapons will allow it to shoot them without regard to the fact that the compressed air cylinders simply do not have enough power to push the robot to a safe distance from the submarine. ‘Drones,’ launched at such a depth, are completely invisible to the enemy.”
Torpedo launch tubes are used not only to launch torpedoes, cruise missiles and drones; they set mines and serve as exits for marine saboteurs.
Additionally, Russia is developing another new device to deceive the enemy that can be released from the torpedo launch tube. The device is called a “small-size hydroacoustic countermeasure device Vist-2.” It is 2.6 feet long and weighs 30 pounds. Vist creates a powerful acoustic hindrance that silences the homing heads of torpedoes and submarines’ sonar. It emits a special signal that simulates the sound of a ship or submarine. According to experts, the device, whose operation life is more than five minutes (enough to evade a torpedo or hide from the enemy’s hydroacoustic complex) seriously increases the Russian submarine fleet’s combat capabilities.
Russia’s new generation of noiseless submarines, which can be hidden anywhere around the world in the depths of the oceans—the “black holes” that carry cruise missiles or drones armed with nuclear warheads—is part of Vladimir Putin’s plan to show Washington that no Missile Defense Shield in Europe and no great ocean will protect American soil in case of military conflict.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Iranian Submarine Being Tested: Minister

Staff, Tasnim News
30 August 2017

TEHRAN – Iran’s homegrown military submarine Fateh (Conquerer) has been put through tests for final results, Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami said.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, the defense minister said the Iranian submarine is undergoing tests, whose results will determine when the vessel would enter service.
The 527-ton Fateh submarine is considered a semi-heavy undersurface vessel whose weigh at depth increases to 593 tons. The submarine is equipped with an advanced sonic radar system for identifying enemy vessels and uses a missile defense system.
Thanks to Fateh, the Iranian Navy is now equipped with a full range of light, semi-heavy and heavy submarines.

An Interview with Gen John E. Hyten, Commander, USSTRATCOM

Strategic Studies Quarterly
28 August 2017

General John E. Hyten is Commander of US Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM), one of nine Unifi Commands under the Department of Defense. USSTRATCOM is responsible for global command and control of US strategic forces to meet decisive national security objectives, providing a broad range of strategic capabilities and options for the President and Secretary of Defense.
SSQ: What do you see as the top three challenges for USSTRATCOM?
General Hyten: Challenge number one is, are we ready to execute our mission right now? So readiness must remain the first challenge. But, being “ready” means more than the nuclear business. It means being ready with a decisive nuclear response, it means being ready in space, ready in cyber, ready in global strike, and ready in missile defense. All of the elements—are we ready tonight if the worst day in our country’s history starts.
The second priority is the need to be ready tomorrow. That means modernizing our forces. I talked about the nuclear modernization piece during the USSTRATCOM Deterrence Symposium, but we have a very similar challenge with space modernization. Our current space infra- structure is not built for the contested space environment that exists today, so we have to modernize our space capabilities. Similarly, cyber- space abilities need to be modernized because cyber is still being created and is evolving rapidly. Finally, our missile defense capabilities must be improved. So my second priority is to make sure the commander who comes after me is as ready as we are now.
USSTRATCOM’s third priority is to make sure we always take care of our people. About a decade ago, the ICBM business was almost broken. The morale was low and we lost focus on the most important element of our business, and that’s the nuclear enterprise. And that’s when we started having problems. But, if you go out into the field now you will find a force that is unbelievably motivated and ready. Sometimes I think caring for people is really priority one, because without people we don’t have anything. When the entire security of the nation is at risk, being ready has to be job one. Because if for some reason that readiness goes away, then all of us have a problem.
SSQ: When you look at the breadth of the USSTRATCOM mission, what threats concern you most?
General Hyten: I’ve talked about the threat that concerns me most: can we go fast enough? Somewhere we lost the ability to rapidly adapt and stay ahead of our adversaries. It’s an indictment of every one of us, because we’re all part of the buying process. It’s a threat of ourselves. That’s where my head goes first. People always expect me to talk about an adversary, but that’s my biggest concern, because we are ready today for any adversary we would face. I have ready forces on alert right now that can handle any threat that comes against the United States. And I have no doubt that over the next three years we’re going to work and we’ll stay ready. But, can we go fast enough to make sure it stays that way in the future?
When I look at our adversaries, the biggest concern has to be Russia because it is still the only existential threat to the United States. And then below that, it depends on the specific question, because China, North Korea, Iran, and violent extremism all become great concerns depending on what part of our enterprise you consider. North Korea jumps out right now because they’re the most uncertain. China jumps out for what they’re doing in space. Iran jumps out for what they’re doing with missiles, and violent extremism for the fight that is around the world today, in scattered places. So all of them, depending on the specific question or issue. But, it starts with, we have to go fast enough and we’ve got to make sure we always take care of Russia.
SSQ: When you compare those threats to capabilities, are you satisfied with the current state of the nuclear force?
General Hyten: The current state of the nuclear force is just fine. It’s ready. It’s on alert. It’s ready to perform. The Airmen in the missile fields, the Sailors in the submarine force, the Airmen that operate the bombers and the tankers—they are all ready, right now. The equipment they have is ready right now and they can do the job right now. The equipment they have is ready right now, but the equipment is quite old. This goes back to my priorities. First priority is, can we do it today? And we always have to be, so whoever the commander is, from now for the next 20 years, that’s going to be the top priority. I have a job to make sure that I advocate for resources and capabilities to make sure the commander 20 years from now is as ready as we are today. And unless we modernize our forces, that commander will have a problem. That can’t be allowed to happen.
SSQ: The Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) and the Ballistic Missile Defense Review (BMDR) are both in progress right now. What are your expectations for those reviews?
General Hyten: While both are under way, I would say the Nuclear Posture Review is probably a little ahead of the Ballistic Missile Defense Review, but they’re both in good shape. US Strategic Command is involved in both of those efforts and we understand where they are. I don’t want to share where I think the reviews are going to go because those are the policy of the administration. The president of the United States has the final vote, and he hasn’t voted yet.
So we’re putting together all the work that needs to be done, both on the nuclear side as well as the ballistic missile defense side. Our recommendations will be presented to the administration and ultimately to the president for a decision. I don’t want to assume where either one of those reviews will end up. I’m pretty confident that we will end up with a very strong approach to nuclear deterrence, which will include modernization of our forces.
SSQ: Would you characterize the NPR or BMDR changes as evolutionary or revolutionary?
General Hyten: I would say evolutionary. I don’t think when it comes to our nuclear deterrent, there’s a revolutionary change about to happen. It won’t include space and cyber, but coming out of the Nuclear Posture Review we will broaden our discussion of what strategic deterrence really is in the twenty-first century. The nuclear enterprise is the backbone of strategic deterrence and where deterrence starts. But now we need to build on that and create a multi-domain deterrence structure that delivers integrated effects. Integrated effects means we’ll bring all the capabilities of US Strategic Command against any adversary, anywhere in the world, in any domain, at any time.
SSQ: The Russians have effectively violated the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. What should the United States do now?
General Hyten: Since Russia violated the INF Treaty, I believe it is in our nation’s best interests to somehow work to bring them back into compliance. That includes a range of options, with our partners and allies, and all the instruments of US government power. I give my recommendations to my leadership, who is the secretary of defense. The secretary of defense, the secretary of state will give their recommendations to the president. The president has the opportunity to make a number of decisions based on our recommendations and he will.
But my desire, and I think the desire of our country right now, is to bring the Russians back into compliance with the INF Treaty because it provides a certain amount of stability we need in the intermediate- range nuclear force regime. It’s the same with the New START Treaty. I support the New START Treaty, particularly the force levels in the New START Treaty because that allows me a clear idea of what it takes to deter Russia. My first job is to provide strategic deterrence. If I know specifically what the Russian capabilities are, and it’s verifiable under a treaty, then I know the force I have to have prepared and ready to provide that deterrence. If that goes a different direction, then it becomes a much more difficult problem for US Strategic Command and all our forces.
Our job as a nation—not just my job, but our job—is to bring them back into compliance. I’ll give my military recommendations and the State Department will give their recommendations and the president will decide the way forward. That will also be part of the Nuclear Posture Review.
SSQ: Very recently you ordered some changes to the organization of USSTRATCOM. Can you share some of the details and explain why you made those changes?
General Hyten: We are making these changes to arrive at a simpler structure. When I took command in November 2016, I sat down with all my commanders—18 of them. And I had four-stars, Navy admirals on my left, Air Force generals on my right; and all my task force and functional component commanders around the table. The agenda had all my component and task force commanders talking to me, but not the four-stars. I realized that all the component commanders and task force commanders worked for those four-stars. So I asked myself, why aren’t they the components, and I’ll just ask them and they can reach out to the guys that already work for them and fix the problem?
We started working through this restructure, and it became part of a larger effort to make sure everybody that works in this command understands it’s a war-fighting command with a normal structure. And that means we should have a war-fighting construct. A war-fighting construct means we’ll have an air component, a maritime component, a space component, and right now, a missile defense component, pending the outcome of the BMDR. But it’s just a war-fighting structure. Everybody who comes into this command comes from a background accustomed to having an air component, a maritime component, a land component—it is a familiar structure.
The only part that is a little different is the space component, since space is part of the command. We need somebody focused on space, and I have a four-star in Colorado Springs in the job I used to be in, that wasn’t the component. He’s the one who knows more about space than anybody and all the space professionals for the most part work for him. So we’re just structuring to focus on war fighting when we come in every morning. It is simpler. I understand why the old structure may have made sense 15 years ago. But to me, the way the world has changed and the threats out there right now require us to focus on war fighting.
SSQ: When you thought about making these organizational changes, were there some missions that needed to be moved into USSTRATCOM or maybe separated from USSTRATCOM?
General Hyten: The only issue that was really on the table was the nuclear targeting piece that was in the Joint Functional Component Command for Global Strike. When it comes to execution of the nuclear mission, that is executed by the president through the commander of STRATCOM and not through a component. So that targeting function needs to be in STRATCOM. I haven’t made the final decision there yet, but the one thing I can tell you is it’s going to come back inside the STRATCOM staff. And again, it’s just going to be normalized.
SSQ: We don’t hear much of anything on civil defense anymore. Should the United States focus more on it?
General Hyten: The Russians did a civil defense drill last year as part of their big exercise with 40 million Russian citizens. Not many people heard about that but you can’t keep something like that secret. Forty million people were involved, responding to a simulated attack. Th attack has to be from the United States.
This is a complicated question but an important one for our citizens. A big part of me, the American citizen part of me, loves living in a country where people don’t worry about that stuff. But there has to be a balance where the people understand they don’t worry about nuclear attack because they support the readiness of the capabilities that allow them not to. That’s the balance we have to find as we go forward.
So I don’t want to scare people. I don’t want to go back to the place where we’re under imminent threat of complete destruction. I want my kids and your kids to be able to live a life where they don’t worry about that stuff in the future. But I also want citizens to be aware that we have to have these capabilities and they have to be ready all the time. For our part, we need to educate the public that a large number of Americans and our allies spend their entire lives creating the environment where others can be free from that type of worry. So that’s the balance I would like to get back to. We’re not going to build giant, million-person civil defense shelters. The public needs to understand that they’re safe and secure because we are ready for the worst day if it comes.
SSQ: If you could change three things within the DOD that affect USSTRATCOM, what would you change?
General Hyten: I would change the buying process we have. Note I said buying process, not acquisition process. One of my big pet peeves is when people hear my speech on modernization challenges they say I’m slamming the acquisition community. I’m not. It’s the buying process that we have across the board. It’s from budget to requirements to acquisition to test—every part of the process. Why I tell the story of the Minuteman I program is because the one thing Gen Bernard Schriever had that we do not have today is all the authority and responsibility to execute a program and a budget on the first of the year. When you have those two pieces, you have the ability to go fast. And oh, by the way, if you fail there is no doubt who’s accountable. If you succeed, there’s no doubt who’s accountable. I would like to reestablish accountability back in the program, which would lessen a number of the bureaucratic layers we have built—not just in the Pentagon, but across our service structure, our buying structure, our contracting structure, everything. I’d like to put those authorities back in the right place.
People think I’m trying to eliminate the Defense Acquisition Executive but that is not the case. I want that oversight. I want the authorities out there in the field, but everybody has a boss. I’m not trying to eliminate bosses, but I would really like to get authority and responsibility back to the field. That’s probably the biggest change I would make.
Next, I would have a budget on the first of the year every year. That would be enormously beneficial. And I’ll just keep it at those two.
SSQ: Twenty years from now, do you envision the command being different than it is today? And if so, how?
General Hyten: Twenty years from now. Well, Cyber will have stood up as a unified command. I expect to have a very interesting command relationship with US Cyber Command because we’re going to have to integrate the information component of our nation, and that’s going to require a very tight partnership between Cyber Command and Strategic Command.
I also see 20 years from now a Space Command that’s probably either under as a subunified command or a separate command. And we’re going to have to figure out how to integrate those pieces together.
So I see some changes happening. It will be interesting 40 years from now to see whether all that stuff comes back together. But, in the near future the cyber and space elements—because of their importance— standing up and being focused on. Then the job of Strategic Command will be to integrate all that together to provide a strategic deterrent for the nation across all the capabilities that we have. But the mission will remain the same, with more modern capabilities, and I still see the priorities being the same.
SSQ: General Hyten, on behalf of the Strategic Studies Quarterly team and the entire SSQ audience, thank you for your time and for sharing your thoughts and ideas. We wish you all the best as commander of USSTRATCOM.