Hagel says Stratcom will continue defense role

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Thursday that even though there are proposed deep cuts in the defense budget, the U.S. Strategic Command will continue to play an important role.

Budget debates have been raging in Congress and numerous cuts have already been made in the DoD. The DoD has already froze hiring civilians in everything save for mission-critical jobs, laid off temporary and term employees, cut back on travel and conferences and cut down on maintenance at bases.

One of the possible areas that could be hit by the budget crisis would be Stratcom. Stratcom is charged with overseeing the nation's strategic nuclear deterrence and responding to space-based challenges and cyber threats.

"This institution is at the center of that responsibility," Hagel said. "Nuclear deterrence has kept world peace since World War II. Strategic Command probably has as much responsibility for those changes as far as threats, cyber, weapons of mass destruction, space, all elements that are literally part of this universe."

The talk about budget cuts in Stratcom comes after President Obama called for Russia to negotiate new cuts in both countries' deployed strategic nuclear weapons.

Hagel noted the president's speech and said that even with the proposed cuts, Stratcom would still be able to deter aggression as well as maintain the country's triad of nuclear-armed bombers, land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear-armed submarines.

"I note the president's speech on our nuclear posture because it brings home in a very real way your assignment and responsibilities," Hagel said. "Stratcom will remain a foundational piece of our national security for a long time."