US Strategic Command has seen a significant evolution in its capabilities and responsibilities since the end of the Cold War, and is applying its capabilities on a daily basis across the spectrum, often in support of other commands, Gen. Robert Kehler, STRATCOM commander, told attendees at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium on Thursday. This goes beyond the nuclear deterrent, he said, noting that it is important that the United States makes investments in the areas laid out in the nation’s new defense strategy—specifically defeating cyber aggression and enabling operations in anti-access and area-denial environments. Airpower and STRATCOM’s portfolio are “all over” the capabilities required by the new strategy, said Kehler. In addition to modernizing the nuclear triad and improving space awareness and electronic warfare capabilities, the United States must also emphasize modernization of the processing, dissemination, and exploitation element of its global intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance products and tools since networked sensors and intelligence products will have a far greater effect on operations for the combatant commanders, he 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.