U.S. Navy Adm. Cecil D. Haney, the U.S. Strategic Command commander, hosted CISAC Co-Directors David Relman and Amy Zegart as well as CISAC faculty and fellows at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska on March 30-31, 2015, to promote military-to-university cooperation and innovation, and provide a better understanding of USSTRATCOM’s global missions.
The visit follows Haney’s trip to Stanford last year, during which he held seminars and private meetings with faculty, scholars and students to discuss strategic deterrence in the 21st century. Those discussions focused on reducing the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile while maintaining an effective deterrent, the integration of space and cyberspace in nuclear platforms and the congested, contested and competitive operating environment in space.
“Developing and maintaining partnerships with security experts from the private sector and academic institutions like CISAC enables USSTRATCOM to view the strategic environment from a different perspective and adjust our decision calculous accordingly,” Haney said. “We are excited about this unique opportunity to exchange ideas and share information with this prestigious organization.”
Haney opened the discussions by presenting a command mission brief, in which he described USSTRATCOM’s nine Unified Command Plan-assigned missions, his priorities as commander and his ongoing effort to build enduring relationships with partner organizations to exchange ideas and confront the broad range of global strategic challenges.
Zegart, who is also a senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, said getting to see and experience how USSTRATCOM operates first-hand was “an eye opener.”
“It’s one thing to think about deterrence, it’s another to live it,” she said. “When you go to each other’s neighborhoods, you gain a better understanding of where each side is coming from … and that’s enormously important to us in how we think about deterrence and what we can do to help USSTRATCOM and its mission.”
“These kinds of exchanges have cascade effects on young people; how they think about civil-military relations [and] how they understand what our military is doing,” she added.
The delegation also received a tour of USSTRATCOM’s global operations center and held discussions with subject matter experts on strategic deterrence, cyber responsibility and nuclear modernization.
“As a cybersecurity fellow, it was fascinating to visit the global operations center and the battle deck to see the role that cybersecurity and information technology plays in the strategic deterrence mission,” said Andreas Kuehn, a CISAC pre-doctoral cybersecurity fellow from Switzerland. “At CISAC, we often discuss deterrence from a theoretical perspective, so it was very insightful to hear from people who work in [this field] and see how they deal with deterrence in an operational manner.”
The two-day visit concluded with an open discussion, during which CISAC and USSTRATCOM members discussed the most effective means to share information, plan future engagements and continue working to build on the mutually beneficial relationship between the two organizations.
“Sometimes people talk [about strategic issues] in the abstract and it becomes difficult to understand what is happening on the ground and in the real world,” Kuehn said. “I think [USSTRATCOM] took extra steps to keep the conversations open and concrete.”
USSTRATCOM is one of nine Department of Defense unified combatant commands charged with strategic deterrence, space operations, cyberspace operations, joint electronic warfare, global strike, missile defense, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, combating weapons of mass destruction, and analysis and targeting.