By Amy Guckeen Tolson (The Redstone Rocket)August 8, 2018
HUNTSVILLE, Alabama -- When it comes to the threats of today, Gen. John Hyten doesn't lose any sleep at night - but that does not mean there is not work to be done when it comes to dominating the battlefields of tomorrow.
Hyten opened the 2018 Space and Missile Defense Symposium in Huntsville Aug. 7, offering his perspective on "Space and Missile Defense Imperatives," as they relate to his position as the commander of the U.S. Strategic Command. Touting USSTRATCOM as "the most powerful command on the planet," the unified command's mission is to deter attacks and employ forces to protect the nation and its allies through strategic deterrence, decisive response and a combat-ready force.
It is a mission Hyten is not concerned about accomplishing today, but looking to the future gives him pause.
"As the commander of USSTRATCOM, I have everything I need to do my job. What I'm worried about is will we have the capabilities to deal with the threats of the future," Hyten said.
Hyten's number one imperative is ensuring that the 162,000 men and women who make up USSTRATCOM continue to have the resources and capabilities they need so that the United States keeps its position as the "dominant military power on the planet in every domain," so there is never a fair fight. He emphasized the importance of a threat-based approach to strategies and a need for the U.S. to develop new technologies quickly in order to overmatch its adversaries, noting the ways Russia and China have developed their nuclear, space weapon and missile capabilities over the past two decades.
"We have a threat and the United States has to respond to that threat," Hyten said.
Calling on industry partners to step up and create a faster pipeline for innovation, experimentation and demonstration in areas such as hypersonics, Hyten also noted the need for space to be looked at and treated as a warfighting domain. The importance is two-fold: not only must the U.S. defend its assets in space that help warfighters across the world communicate, navigate and defend, but so too is space needed to know and see the threats around the globe.
Deterrence remains the nation's first line of defense against adversaries, with men and women serving around the clock, manning radars and sensors, to protect the United States and its allies. Paired with the offense provided by USSTRATCOM, it sends a "powerful deterrent message" to adversaries, Hyten said.
"We are ready, equipped, trained for any threat that anybody in the world can bring at us," Hyten said. "From the most significant nuclear threat to a minor nuclear threat, to a space threat to a missile threat, to anything that you can imagine, I have no concerns. I sleep well at night when I go to bed, and you should sleep well at night as well, because the 162,000 people in my command are doing their job every day."