STRATCOM

Staff Sgt. Alex Garviria, 721st Communication Squadron senior systems controller, and 2nd Lt. Rachel James, 721st CS crew commander, work in the Global Strategic Warning and Space Surveillance System Center at Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, Colo., Sept. 2, 2014. The 721st CS provides continuous monitoring of the strategic missile warning systems to ensure a constant dataflow of key information to North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), U.S. Northern Command, U.S. Strategic Command, Air Force Space Command, Secretary of Defense, President of the United States, strategic, and theater commanders. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Krystal Ardrey)

PENTAGON: If a spy satellite is attacked, who will command America’s response — the head of Strategic Command or the Director of National Intelligence? If an Air Force satellite is attacked first, who would command America’s response? These questions are being hotly — but very quietly –debated at the highest reaches of the U.S. government. Since an… Keep reading →

Sydney J. Freedberg Jr.

CAPITOL HILL: The US military spends too much time acting as the FAA of space and not enough watching for potential threats, the deputy chief of Strategic Command said today. That has to change as outer space becomes increasingly contested and increasingly intertwined with cyberspace, Lt. Gen. James Kowalski told a Peter Huessy breakfast here.… Keep reading →

Paul Kaminski

WASHINGTON: A classified Defense Science Board study, now on the desk of Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work, recommends that the Pentagon invest an additional $2 billion a year in electronic warfare and create a high-level executive committee to oversee the four services’ EW spending. “We need to dig ourselves out of a big hole, because we… Keep reading →

Rear Adm. John Haley

WASHINGTON: As the world has gone wireless, the electromagnetic spectrum has become a vast, invisible battleground — and we don’t even have a general in command. While US Strategic Command has the responsibility to “advocate” for Electronic Warfare, STRATCOM’s own chief of operations said bluntly today that it lacks the authorities and funding it needs to make… Keep reading →

Air-Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM)

ARMY & NAVY CLUB: In the dog-eat-dog, admiral-eat-general world of budget warfare in the age of sequestration, it’s easy to pit programs against each other. The Navy’s new nuclear missile submarine and the Air Force’s Long-Range Strike Bomber, for example, are both huge strategic-weapons programs with enormous bills coming due in the next decade and much debate… Keep reading →

SecAF James and Lt. Gen. Wilson

PENTAGON: Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James spent most of last week talking with the officers and enlisted men who control and protect America’s nuclear missiles. She told reporters today she believes the service’s nuclear missile force — hit by drugs, a cheating scandal that now embroils 92 officers, and several other recent mishaps — is… Keep reading →

Cold War Strategic Reconnaissance

UPDATED: With Great Rep. Turner Quote On Snowden WASHINGTON: “The damage assessment is still underway,” about the effects of Edward Snowden’s revelations about the National Security Agency’s monitoring of web and email traffic, a typically cool and careful commander of US Strategic Command told me this morning. But it’s definitely bad. “It’s going to take… Keep reading →

CAPITOL HILL: If there’s one command — a very important one — that must worry about the short term impact of sequestration, it’s Strategic Command, those who command three of the most important weapon systems we deploy — nuclear weapons, cyber and space. Roughly 60 percent of STRATCOM’s headquarters staff do not wear uniforms. And, as anyone knows who’s been following the debacle we call sequestration, one of the first and hardest human impacts will be furloughs, as involuntary layoffs for federal employees are known.

Gen. Robert Kehler, STRATCOM’s leader, told the House Armed Services Committee today in his written testimony that he is, “extremely concerned about the impacts of actual and potential budget reductions on our people. While I believe these amazing professionals will continue to cope with uncertainty in the near-term, I cannot say the same over time if the financial risks to the individuals and their families persist.”

I covered STRATCOM for five years while at Space News and was always struck by how pervasive the civilians were. Keep Reading →