... Here, today, you begin to effect a real transformation-a
transformation that will improve our command and control, our
intelligence and our planning-in short, a fundamental step forward to
better meet the security environment that will define the 21st Century.
Strategic, Space Commands Merge
By Petty Officer 1st Class Sonja Chambers
Special to the American Forces Press Service
OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb., Oct. 1, 2002 - Two U.S. unified commands
merged Tuesday to form a new global command with global responsibilities
in a new strategic environment.
During an afternoon ceremony in the Bennie L. Davis Maintenance
Facility, a new U.S. Strategic Command was established through the
merger with U.S. Space Command and tasked with space operations,
information operations, computer network operations, and strategic
defense and attack missions.
During the ceremony, Adm. James O. Ellis Jr., U.S. Strategic Command
chief, cased the colors and stood down the old command. Air Force Gen.
Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, then activated
the new command, incorporating portions of U.S. Space Command. That
command, based at Peterson AFB, Colo., ceased to exist.
The new StratCom represents the transformation that provides a single
commander, with a global perspective, to support the President and the
Secretary of Defense, said Myers. With a B-2 Spirit stealth bomber, one
of the most potent reminders of the nation's deterrence strength, parked
behind several troop formations to the rear of the facility, and a
60-foot U.S. flag behind him, Ellis took command of the new StratCom.
"This new command is going to have all the responsibilities of its
predecessors, but an entirely new mission focus, greatly expanded forces
and you might even say several infinite areas of responsibility," Myers
said. The command will focus on the military's ability to respond to
threats around the world and offer a wider range of strategic options.
"United States Strategic Command provides a single warfighting combatant
command with a global perspective, focused on exploiting the strong and
growing synergy between the domain of space and strategic capabilities,"
The merger of the commands is part of the Bush administration's plan to
transform the U.S. military as part of the nation's national military
strategy. The new StratCom will continue to be responsible for providing
strategic deterrence for the nation, but now, it will also assume space
missions and responsibilities.
"Here today you begin to affect a real transformation," said Deputy
Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz. "A transformation that will improve
our command and control, our intelligence and our planning. In short, a
fundamental step forward to better meet the security environment that
will define the 21st century."
The command exercises combatant command and control of assigned task
forces and service components that support the command's mission. During
day-to-day operations, service component commanders retain primary
responsibility for maintaining the readiness of USSTRATCOM forces and
performing their assigned functions.
Organizations include the following task force and service elements:
aerial refueling, airborne communications, Army Space forces, ballistic
missile submarines, bomber and reconnaissance aircraft, Joint Task Force
- Computer Network Operations, the Joint Information Operations Center,
land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, the Naval Network and
Space Operations Command, and Space Air Force.
Related Sites of Interest:
U.S. Strategic Command Web site
Establishment of U.S. Strategic Command: Remarks as Prepared for
Delivery by Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, Offutt AFB,
Omaha, Neb., Oct. 1, 2002
AFPS News Article: Northern Command Established in Colorado
AFRTS Radio Report: Rumsfeld says SPACECOM/STRATCOM merger to
improve combat effectiveness
Establishment of U.S. Strategic Command
Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul
Wolfowitz, Offutt AFB, Omaha, NE, Tuesday, October 1, 2002.
[Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff] General Myers has thoroughly and
commendably recognized the many distinguished guests who join us today.
But, let me add my personal greetings to Governor Johanns, Senators Exon
and Karnes, [U.S. Stratcom Commander]Admiral Ellis, our honored
veterans, and, most of all, the men and women here who serve us so
faithfully and so well. Please join me in showing our appreciation.
Along with the big Air Force presence here on the plains of Nebraska,
I'd point out how gratifying it is to have such a strong naval presence
here as well.
I say that not just because of our Stratcom commander, Admiral Ellis,
but because we have with us the commander of another seafaring force of
legendary proportions-especially, as I understand it, with regard to the
number of admirals on its rolls. I speak, of course, about the leader of
the much-acclaimed Nebraska Navy-"Admiral" Johanns.
And, so, "Admiral"-Governor-permit me to tell what might be called a
"sea story." It's a story that is quite appropriate, all things
Back in the old days of the Warsaw Pact, a lot of bittersweet political
jokes came out of Czechoslovakia. This is one that I particularly liked.
At an official dinner, a lady found herself seated next to the Czech
Minister of Naval Affairs. She was somewhat surprised to learn of her
dinner companion's official position. She didn't think Czechoslovakia
had a navy, being a landlocked country.
So she said to the minister: "How can Czechoslovakia have a navy? You
don't even have a seacoast." "We don't," the minister replied. "Then how
can you have a Ministry of Naval Affairs?" she asked. "Well," he
replied, "the Soviet Union has a Ministry of Justice. Why can't
Czechoslovakia have a Ministry of Naval Affairs?"
That's a story a veteran of the Cold War like General Butler can
certainly appreciate, too.
In all seriousness, it has regularly struck me how some of our great
maritime states-like Indiana and Nebraska-continually produce leaders
with such a broad and international outlook on world affairs.
And for that reason, perhaps it's not an accident that the one command
we have with a truly global responsibility is based right here in
America's heartland, on plains of Nebraska.
Governor, your Nebraska Navy is an appropriate reminder for today's
occasion-that we should never be constrained by traditional expectations
and expected boundaries.
Throughout America's history, we've been fortunate that great leaders
and committed citizens have shouldered momentous responsibilities and
have led us forward through turbulent times toward a stronger, safer and
more secure future. Today, we mark such an occasion.
September 11th has taken its place alongside December 7th as a date that
will live in infamy and the larger lesson we should draw from these
attacks is clear: we must be prepared for surprise-from wherever it may
appear and however it may threaten. A fundamental way in which we'll
remain prepared for uncertainty is through the commitment of the men and
women of the new Strategic Command, who, today, shoulder a great
responsibility on behalf of our nation.
As part of a fundamental and sweeping change that began earlier today
with the stand-up of Northern Command, we charge you to rethink your
traditional roles-with the same skill and professionalism that have
themselves become legendary over the last half century.
Indeed, each day you must continue to remain vigilant in a mission that
many would prefer to forget. That they perceive the threat to have
disappeared is a mark of your success.
Your predecessors saw us safely through a period when super powers
confronted one another in a dangerous balance of terror. Those days are
gone, hopefully for good. But, there is no way to be certain of that.
And we have seen new enemies emerge that present us with serious threats
of a different but perhaps more lethal kind.
So, as we unite the capabilities of US Space Command and US Strategic
Command, we charge you to assume a new challenge: we charge you to help
us confront these new threats by ensuring that we've taken full
advantage of the capabilities that result from the melding of two
We charge you to do everything you can think of to prepare for and
mitigate newly emerging threats-even as you continue to manage our
nuclear forces with the extraordinary care and vigilance that these
awesome weapons require.
In so doing, you will help improve our ability to deter and dissuade our
adversaries, and you'll enhance our nation's operational effectiveness
and combat capabilities.
The brave men and women who fight for us today in Afghanistan and serve
in other places around the globe are one of our first lines of
offense-as they go directly to the source . rooting out terrorists and
their networks where they live. As they defend us, they help prevent
terrorist attacks before they happen.
What we do here today is another very important step in accomplishing
our national security mission. As al Qaeda has demonstrated, our enemies
operate in many countries and across many borders spreading their
evil-they work tirelessly to acquire weapons of mass destruction and the
technology to deliver them throughout the world.
The new Strategic Command, with its focus on space and information
capabilities, will improve our ability to warn and defend against all
manner of attack-nuclear and non-nuclear. In establishing this
capability, we are, as Secretary Rumsfeld would put it, leaning forward,
Here, today, you begin to effect a real transformation-a transformation
that will improve our command and control, our intelligence and our
planning-in short, a fundamental step forward to better meet the
security environment that will define the 21st Century.
Much has changed since last September. But one thing that did not change
was the American character. Throughout our history, from Valley Forge to
Vicksburg . from Normandy to Anaconda, Americans have not only endured
hardship, they have triumphed over it. In each of our conflicts, we've
seen the sort of resolution and ingenuity that's led citizens and
soldiers alike to devise means to face an adversary more effectively-to
bring peace more quickly.
That's what we celebrate here today. American resilience, endurance and
resolve-the qualities that led to this transformation . a new command
structure and the men and women who will give it life. A new arrangement
that will allow us to more effectively fight the war we wage and the
wars of the future. It's a declaration of our faith in our nation's
future, our shared commitment to a future that is peaceful and secure.
President Bush has told us that this war against terrorism will be a
long, hard fight. But, the men and women of Strategic Command are ready,
willing and able to carry on this fight.
Whenever I am fortunate enough to leave Washington to visit our men and
women where they serve, I'm struck without fail by their proficiency,
their professionalism, and above all, by their pride. It's no less true
here today. Admiral Ellis, these are America's people, and they are also
your people. Under your steady and wise leadership, I know that they
will continue to serve all of us well, and we thank them for that.
There is no question that each one of you here will help shape America's
future. Each one of you here will help America and her allies win this
war. And let there be no doubt-we will win this war.
Let me go back in time, and recall the reaction of England's prime
minister following news of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Winston Churchill
reacted to that attack, not with sorrow, but with great relief and even
joy. As he wrote in his diary on December 8, 1941: "I knew the United
States was now in the war up to the neck, so we have won after all."
He went on to write about "silly people," some in England and others
obviously in Germany, who had "discounted the force of the United
States. Some said they were soft, others that the Americans would never
be united, they would fool around at a distance, they would never come
to grips, they couldn't stand the bloodletting. Their democracy and
their system of recurrent elections," these people were saying, "would
paralyze the war effort. The Americans would be just a vague blur on the
horizon to friend or foe."
"Now we would see" these people said, "the weakness of this numerous but
remote, wealthy and talkative people." We haven't changed much, have we?
But Churchill said, "I had studied the American Civil War fought out to
the last desperate inch. American blood flowed in my veins. I thought of
a remark, which Edward Grey [the British Foreign Minister] had made to
me more than 30 years before [as the United States entered World War
I]." Grey had said that the United States was like "a gigantic boiler.
Once the fire is lighted under it there is no limit to the power it can
Well, the fire is lit. Thanks to you and your comrades throughout our
armed forces, we are generating some truly awesome power.
As I stand here, I see the very best of America, men and women whose
service and sacrifice proclaim that America is a land where dreams are
large, where hearts hunger to build a better world, where ordinary
people achieve extraordinary things . The words that I spoke to our
Pentagon builders a few weeks ago apply also to you here today. For you
are builders, too.
They are the words of the prophet Isaiah, who spoke, saying: "See upon
the palms of my hands, I have written your name. Your walls are ever
before me. Your builders outstrip your destroyers."
For helping us build a better defense for our nation, I thank each one
of you. God bless you, God bless those who serve our nation. And God
NOTE: Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz referred to the mythical Nebraska Navy,
which has inducted thousands of famous honorary "admirals" since its
creation in 1931.
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