Stratcom Commander Haney discusses challenges of strategic deterrence

Navy Adm. Cecil Haney, the commander of U.S. Strategic Command, said last week that 21st century strategic deterrence is complicated, challenging and significantly different from that of the Cold War.

Haney made the remarks at the State Department's George Marshall Conference Center. He said that competition for natural resources, budgetary stresses, protracted conflicts, significant regional unrest and extremist organizations could result in strategic implications for the U.S. and the world at large.

"While terrorism remains the most direct threat to our nation -- particularly weapons of mass destruction -- we are also dealing in advances in state and non-state military capabilities across air, sea, land and space domains, and cyber security," Haney said.

Haney said that China, North Korea, Iran, Russia, Pakistan and India are some examples of nations who are developing modern military capabilities. He noted that while adversarial threats grow against the U.S., the nation continues to hold the strategic advantage.

"While we have improved and increased our cyberspace capabilities, the worldwide threat is growing in sophistication in a number of state and non-state actors," Haney said. "As we monitor developments, we must not lose sight of nation states and non-nation-state actors (that) continue to have goals of obtaining proliferation. As long as these threats remain, so too does the value of our strategic capabilities to deter these threats."

Haney told the students that while U.S. nuclear weapons are as salient today as in the past, deep understanding is required to determine what U.S. adversaries are willing to risk.