Air Force makes nuclear deterrence presentation to Senate subcommittee

Major General Garrett Harencak, the assistant chief of staff for strategic deterrence and nuclear integration for the U.S. Air Force, discussed nuclear defense during a presentation last week before a Senate subcommittee.

Harencak spoke before the Senate Armed Service Committee Subcommittee on Strategic Forces on April 17 to discuss Air Force strategic programs for nuclear deterrence. Harencak said the Air Force is facing challenges in the current fiscally constrained environment, but that it is committed to fulfill President Obama's mandate to keep the U.S. a safe, secure and effective deterrent as long as nuclear weapons exist.

"Maintaining ready, diverse, and resilient nuclear deterrence capabilities is critical to ensuring stability in today's profoundly complex and evolving national security paradigm," Harencak said. "The distinctive attributes of the Air Force's deterrent forces - the responsiveness of the (Intercontinental ballistic missile) and the flexibility and visibility of the bomber - are ideally suited to meet this challenge. As the challenges to maintaining stability inevitably grow in the years to come, the United States must be prepared to meet them."

Harencak discussed nuclear deterrence in the 21st century, prioritizing investment across the enterprise, human capital and implementation of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.

"The President's (fiscal year 2014) budget submission makes hard choices, but retains the commitment to a strong nuclear deterrent through modernization and recapitalization programs," Harencak said. "That commitment is made manifest every day by the airmen performing deterrence operations, who demonstrate those capabilities with precision and reliability. They are trustworthy stewards of our most powerful weapons, vital to our nation as we endeavor to maintain stability in the 21st century."