Prompt conventional global strike should be part of a suite of “integrated global capabilities” that would make up an expanded vision of strategic deterrence, Gen. John Hyten, commander of US Strategic Command, said Friday. Within such a big deterrence vision, STRATCOM would be seen as “a global warfighting command,” instead of a “functional command,” and one whose mission is “providing capabilities that have to be integrated into the geographic commands,” Hyten said at the Military Reporters and Editors conference in Arlington, Va. Hyten praised the “amazing capability” of the January global strike mission that originated from Whiteman AFB, Mo., when two B-2s dropped “84 separate bombs” on two ISIS training camps in Libya. But he said this sort of operation would not be “fast enough in all scenarios.” To provide a quicker alternative, Hyten said, “I continue to advocate for the development of a conventional prompt strike capability.” In the past, advocates have proposed converting ICBMs or SLBMs to carry non-nuclear warheads. Hyten said a “sea-based” PGS system would be safest, and he would prefer to place them on “surface ships,” rather than submarines. Capabilities like PGS, integrated into a multi-domain command and control model, would provide the US with “a fundamental asymmetric advantage over our adversaries,” Hyten said.
These are the complete remarks by Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III at the Reagan National Defense Forum, Dec. 3, 2022, in Simi Valley, Calif.