ADVANCE QUESTIONS FOR VADM RICHARD W. MIES
More than a decade has passed since the enactment of the Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986 and the Special Operations reforms. You have had an opportunity to observe the implementation and impact of those reforms, particularly in your joint assignments as Director, Strategic Target Plans, USSTRATCOM, Commander, Allied Submarines, Mediterranean and Commander, Submarine Allied Command, Atlantic.
QUESTION 1: Do you support full implementation of these defense reforms?
ANSWER: Yes, I strongly support the Defense Reorganization Act of 1986 and the Special Operations reforms. They have definitely strengthened our Armed Forces and the effectiveness of our combatant commanders.
QUESTION 2: What is your view of the extent to which these defense reforms have been implemented?
ANSWER: I believe the Department of Defense has vigorously and successfully pursued implementation of these important reforms.
QUESTION 3: What do you consider to be the most important aspects of these defense reforms?
ANSWER: The most positive aspect is the overall improvement in our ofin our military operations. The Goldwater-Nichols Act has resulted in much needed improvements in joint doctrine, joint professional military education, and joint strategic planning. Another important element is clarity in the chain of command from the National Command Authorities to the combatant commanders and unambiguous responsibility placed upon each CINC for execution of mission and preparedness of assigned forces.
The goals of the Congress in enacting these defense reforms, as reflected in section 3 of the Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act, can be summarized as strengthening civilian control; improving military advice; placing clear responsibility on the combatant commanders for the accomplishment of their missions; ensuring the authority of the combatant commanders is commensurate with their responsibility; increasing attention to the formulation of strategy and to contingency planning; providing for more efficient use of defense resources; and enhancing the effectiveness of military operations and improving the management and administration of the Department of Defense.
QUESTION 4: Do you agree with these goals?
ANSWER: Yes. The law gives combatant commanders sufficient authority they need to carry out their assigned missions. This has been well demonstrated through the many complex joint operations conducted since the legislation was enacted, including the ongoing superb work of strategic deterrence by USSTRATCOM.
Recently there have been articles which indicate an interest within the Department of Defense in modifying Goldwater-Nichols in light of the changing environment and possible revisions to the national strategy.
QUESTION 5: Do you anticipate that legislative proposals to amend Goldwater-Nichols may be appropriate? If so, what areas do you believe it might be appropriate to address in these proposals?
ANSWER: It is clear that the Goldwater-Nichols Act has profoundly improved the performance and capabilities of the American military establishment. We have significantly improved our ability to conduct combat operations, manage defense resources, streamline management practices, and address organizational issues within the Department of Defense. The Goldwater-Nichols Act remains an important and effective piece of legislation; as a result, I do not believe revisions are required at this time.
Section 162(b) of Title 10, United States Code, provides that the chain of command runs from the President to the Secretary of Defense and from the Secretary of Defense to the combatant commands. Other sections of law and traditional practice, however, establish important relationships outside the chain of command. Please describe your understanding of the relationship of the Commander in Chief, United States Strategic Command to the following offices:
QUESTION 6: The Under Secretaries of Defense
ANSWER: Under current DoD Directives, Under Secretaries of Defense coordinate and exchange information with DoD components, such as combatant commands, having collateral or related functions. If confirmed, I will respond and reciprocate.
QUESTION 7: The Assistant Secretaries of Defense
ANSWER: With the exception of the Assistant Secretaries of Defense for C3I, Legislative Affairs, and Public Affairs, all Assistant Secretaries are subordinate to one of the Under Secretaries of Defense. This means any relationship STRATCOM would require with any Assistant Secretary of Defense would be through the appropriate Under Secretary of Defense. Since the Assistant Secretaries of Defense for C3I, Legislative Affairs, and Public Affairs are the Secretary of Defenseís principal deputies for overall supervision of C3I, legislative matters, and public affairs, respectively, any relations required between USSTRATCOM and ASD (C3I), ASD (LA), or ASD (PA) would be conducted along the same lines as those discussed above regarding relations with the various Under Secretaries of Defense.
QUESTION 8 : The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
ANSWER: The Chairman is clearly established by Title 10 as the principal military advisor to the President, National Security Council, and Secretary of Defense. He serves as an advisor and is not in the chain of command that runs from the National Command Authorities (NCA) directly to each combatant commander. The law does allow the President to direct that communications between the NCA and the combatant commanders be transmitted through the Chairman, and President Clinton has directed this to happen in the Unified Command Plan. This action keeps the Chairman fully involved so that he can execute his other legal responsibilities. Certainly a key responsibility is his role as spokesman for the CINCs, especially on the operational requirements of their respective commands. While the legal duties of the Chairman are many and they require either his representation or personal participation in a wide range of issues, my reading of Title 10 says that as a CINC, if confirmed, I will have the obligation to keep the Secretary of Defense promptly informed on matters for which he may hold me personally accountable. If confirmed, I will work with and through the Chairman in the execution of my duties.
QUESTION 9: The Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
ANSWER: When functioning as the acting Chairman, the Vice Chairmanís relationship with CINCs is identical to that of the Chairman. The 103rd Congress amended Title 10 to give the Vice Chairman the same right and obligation that other members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have to submit an opinion or advice to the President, National Security Council, and Secretary of Defense if their views disagree with those of the Chairman. If confirmed, I would readily seek the Vice Chairmanís counsel on any matter considered by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Finally, because the Vice Chairman also plays a key role on many boards and panels that affect planning and programming, and therefore the preparedness of USSTRATCOM, I believe his insights are extremely valuable and I would certainly seek his counsel on a routine basis.
QUESTION 10: The Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
ANSWER: The Unified Command Plan makes the combatant commander the single point of contact for providing US military representation within his assigned responsibilities. To meet this responsibility, combatant commanders must be fully engaged in the interagency process as it considers matters under their purview. I know that the Assistant to the Chairman has an extensive charter to represent the Chairman in the interagency process. While there are no direct lines connecting the Assistant to the Chairman to any combatant commander, what the Assistant can share about the interagency process with any CINC is useful and will be requested. The Assistant to the Chairman also works on matters of personal interest to the Chairman which may require him to consult with me, if confirmed, as a combatant commander.
QUESTION 11: The Director of the Joint Staff
ANSWER: The Director of the Joint Staff has many significant responsibilities which require interaction with USSTRATCOM. Most importantly, the Director is generally the point of contact for soliciting information from all the combatant commanders and their staffs when the Chairman is developing a position on any important issue.
QUESTION 12: The Secretaries of the Military Departments
ANSWER: Title 10, section 165 provides that, subject to the authority, direction, and control of the Secretary of Defense and subject to the authority of combatant commanders, the Secretaries of Military Departments are responsible for the administration and support of the forces they have assigned to combatant commands. The authority exercised by a combatant commander over Service components is quite clear, but requires close coordination with each Secretary to ensure there is no infringement upon those lawful responsibilities a Service Secretary alone may discharge.
QUESTION 13: The Chiefs of Staff of the Services
ANSWER: Under Goldwater-Nichols, the Service Chiefs have several significant roles. Simply stated, their primary function is to provide forces organized, trained, and equipped to perform a role -- to be employed by the combatant commander in the accomplishment of a mission. Additionally, as members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Service Chiefs have a lawful obligation to provide military advice. Individually and collectively, the Service Chiefs are a source of experience and judgment that every combatant commander can and should call upon. If confirmed, I would work closely and confer regularly with the Service Chiefs.
QUESTION 14: The other combatant commanders
ANSWER: USCINCSTRAT fully supports other combatant commanders as directed in the Unified Command Plan. USSTRATCOM provides theater nuclear and counterproliferation support to combatant commanders to assist them in developing tailored annexes designed to counter weapons of mass destruction (WMD). USSTRATCOM also provides specialized planning and consequence analysis, when requested by other combatant commanders. Additionally, USCINCSTRAT works closely with other combatant commanders to initiate crisis action procedures contained in the Nuclear Supplement to the Joint Strategic Capabilities Plan. In crisis situations, when assigned as a supporting CINC, USCINCSTRAT supports planning and execution of military operations for the combatant commander.
DETERRENCE AND MISSILE DEFENSE
QUESTION 15: As political and strategic relations between the United States and the Russian Federation evolve, and as deterrence becomes an increasingly complex challenge involving a growing number of countries, do you believe that the United States should begin to integrate strategic defensive capabilities and strategies into its deterrence planning?
ANSWER: Yes. I believe the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them (e.g. ballistic missiles), in some cases by nations with a historical or demonstrated enmity toward the United States, gives us reason to pursue development of defensive capabilities against missile threats to United States interests in a measured, threat-based program. Strategic defense must be part of a comprehensive deterrence policy that considers the impact of other factors including alliances, arms control agreements, and nuclear weapons reductions, as well as technological capabilities and resource limitations. I believe that strategic defense will be given increasingly greater consideration as an essential element of our deterrence planning.
QUESTION 16: Do you believe that a limited national missile defense system can be deployed by the United States without jeopardizing strategic stability or strategic arms control agreements?
ANSWER: At the moment, our technology is not ready for deployment of a limited national missile defense system. However, as the technology matures, any developments in this area would be closely linked to the arms control process. I fully support the Administrationís "3+3" plan (3 years to develop + 3 years to deploy) for National Missile Defense.
RUSSIAN STRATEGIC DOCTRINE
Notwithstanding the U.S.-Russian detargeting agreement, there seems to be little evidence of a fundamental shift in Russian strategic doctrine. In fact, the trend in Russia seems to be continued adherence to a nuclear warfighting, damage-limiting strategy.
QUESTION 17: Does this trend pose any serious challenges for STRATCOM as U.S. strategic forces are reduced and as the United States reduces the robustness of its strategic command and control posture?
ANSWER: Both the U.S. and Russia continue to rely on the unique deterrent value provided by nuclear weapons. The U.S. has stated that nuclear weapons play a diminished but essential role in its national security strategy. On the other hand, Russia has stated that due to the deterioration of their conventional forces and the severe economic turmoil confronting their nation, nuclear weapons will play a more important role in deterring attack on their country in the future. This policy parallels that of NATO during the Cold War when it was confronted with similar fiscal constraints and shortcomings in its conventional capabilities. Nevertheless, cooperative threat reduction, arms control, Presidential initiatives, and numerous confidence-building measures have brought about many positive changes in the strategic postures of both the U.S. and Russia. These changes reflect a new, constructive relationship between our nations. Both countries agree that the stability of our relationship must be preserved so that neither state fears the other will achieve a strategic advantage. We are on a well thought-out course; it is stable, verifiable, and reciprocative.
DE-ALERTING STRATEGIC FORCES
QUESTION 18: To your knowledge, are there safety or security problems associated with U.S. or Russian strategic forces that would motivate the United States to reduce the alert posture of those forces?
ANSWER: No, to my knowledge, there are not.
The proponents of reducing the alert status of U.S. strategic forces often assert that U.S. forces have a "hair trigger" resulting from a "launch on warning" policy.
QUESTION 19: Do you agree with this assertion?
ANSWER: No. The policy of the United States is not to rely on "launch on warning." We continue to plan a range of options to ensure that the United States can deter potential aggression in a manner appropriate to various levels of provocation rather than being left with an "all or nothing" response. Among those options is the capability to respond promptly to any attack, thus complicating an adversaryís offensive and defensive planning calculations.
QUESTION 20: Do you support reducing the alert status of ICBMs and SLBMs other than in the context of implementing the protocol to the START II Treaty that extends the deadline for destruction of strategic nuclear delivery vehicles?
ANSWER: Reducing the alert status of our forces, in isolation, can diminish the credibility and survivability of our deterrent forces. However, if a de-alerting initiative does not degradecurtail our strategic capabilitymission or impair our arms control position, I would consider supporting it. In general, de-alerting initiatives should not be adopted unless they are reciprocative, verifiable, and, most importantly, stabilizing.
QUESTION 21: If some or all of our ballistic missile forces were de-alerted in a way that required some time-consuming and visible action to restore their ability to launch, how would this affect the role of those forces in STRATCOMís planning?
ANSWER: The range of planned options available to the President would be reduced. De-alerted forces would not be available for use until the completion of a generation period ranging from hours to days, depending on the method used to de-alert the system. More robust plans to reconstitute forces would be required. Land-based systems and in-port submarines would be vulnerable to attack until they were generated. Depending on the number of systems de-alerted, the ability of the United States to effectively respond to an attack could be adversely affectedreduced.
QUESTION 22: What would be the effect on strategic stability?
ANSWER: Many de-alerting proposals jeopardize the existing stability against a preemptive first strike because they create a premium for attacking first. Any potential adversaryís perception that a strategic advantage could be gained by a preemptive strike would be destabilizing. Additionally, any unilateral act to restore de-alerted assets or any act which might be perceived as restoring de-alerted forces, creates a potential for instability. De-alerting initiatives should be carefully crafted to avoid these perceptions.
U.S. STRATEGIC FORCE POSTURE AND START II
QUESTION 23: Do you support the existing policy of remaining at START I force levels until START II enters into force?
ANSWER: Yes. Stability is achieved by maintaining parity through verifiable reduction of forces. Proceeding unilaterally with START II reductions could remove Russiaís incentive to ratify the START II Treaty and potentially jeopardize strategic stability. As long as implementation of START II remains in question, retaining our force structure at START I levels is appropriate.
If Russia does not ratify the START II Treaty, the United States may be required to remain at START I force levels for the foreseeable future.
QUESTION 24: In this event, would you support changes in U.S. force posture designed to save money while staying at START I levels?
ANSWER: There are many variables involved besides cost and USSTRATCOM would need to study each option very carefully. If confirmed, I would support only those options that provide a robust Triad of sufficient credible, survivable, and reliable deterrent forces.
QUESTION 25: If so, describe the revised START I force posture that would best support STRATCOMís mission.
ANSWER: It would be premature for me to provide possible force structures at this time. The issues and variables are complex; but, if confirmed, I would explore options that make fiscal sense and do not reduce the credibility of our strategic deterrent.
U.S. STRATEGIC FORCE POSTURE BEYOND START II
During the Helsinki Summit meeting of March 1997, the United States agreed to begin negotiations on START III once START II enters into force. The START III framework would limit the sides to between 2,000 and 2,500 deployed strategic warheads.
QUESTION 26: If this agreement enters into force, how would you recommend that the U.S. strategic force posture be adjusted?
ANSWER: If confirmed, I would encourage and foster an open process to evaluate options for our START III force structure.
Currently, the U.S. Navy is planning to backfit four older Trident submarines in order to support a START II force of 14 Trident submarines equipped with the D-5 missile.
QUESTION 27: Do you believe that a 14 Trident submarine fleet will still be required under START III?
ANSWER: Yes. Trident submarines will continue to carry the largest portion of our strategic forces under any START III scenario. Our SSBN force is the most survivable leg of the Triad. Thus, the U.S. must preserve a large enough SSBN force to enable two-ocean operations with sufficient assets at sea to ensure a survivable, retaliatorysponsive retaliatory force capable of dissuading any potential adversary.
QUESTION 28: If so, what kind of warhead down-loading would be required to remain within the limits of START III?
ANSWER: Based on preliminary analysis, warhead downloading is a possible option, although it is premature to speculate on the force composition until the precise details of START III are known.
QUESTION 29: What changes to the ICBM and bomber forces would you envision in order to implement a START III agreement?
ANSWER: Based on preliminary analysis, a reduction in ICBM and bomber force structure is possible, although it is premature to speculate on the force composition until the precise details of START III are known.
QUESTION 30: Do you favor reductions in strategic nuclear delivery systems beyond those envisioned in the START III Treaty?
ANSWER: Stability is the most important criterion as we proceed down the glide slope to lower numbers of nuclear weapons. Control of the glide path is critical - the journey is just as important as the destination. Further reductions in strategic delivery systems beyond START III should be complemented by more comprehensive considerations of increased stockpile transparency, greater accountability and transparency of non-strategic/ tactical nuclear warheads, limitations on production infrastructures, third party nuclear weapon stockpiles, the impact on our allies, and the implications of deploying strategic defensive systems.
QUESTION 31: Do you believe that there is a floor below which the United States should not proceed?
ANSWER: No, I do not believe there is an absolute floor. There are incremental floors with verifiable attributes determined by the conditions which exist at that time. As stated above, the glide path is critical. The most important criterion in assessing prospective arms control measures is stability. As we reduce our strategic delivery systems to lower numbers, issues such as transparency, irreversibility, production capacity, aggregate warhead inventories, and verifiability become more complex and sensitive. Whereas at existing START I/II levels our deterrent forces are relatively less sensitive to "cheating."
QUESTION 32: Do you believe that the U.S. will need to retain a Strategic Triad under the START III agreement?
ANSWER: I support maintaining a Triad under START III. Each of the legs of the Triad provide unique attributes that enhance deterrence and reduce risk; submarines provide survivability, bombers provide flexibility, and intercontinental ballistic missiles provide prompt response. Together, they provide a stable deterrent and complicate an adversaryís offensive and defensive planning. The Triad is also a synergistic force that provides a protection hedge against failure of a single leg. Permanent reduction of one or two legs of the Triad would dramatically reduce our capability to overcome an unexpected failure of a remaining leg.
MINUTEMAN III EQUIPPED WITH THE MARK-21 REENTRY VEHICLE
The Air Force continues to develop the capability to retrofit the Minuteman III ICBMs with the Mark 21 RV.
QUESTION 33: In your view, how many of the Minuteman IIIs should carry the Mark 21, and when should that transition begin?
ANSWER: I am still studying the issue and do not yet have a firm view on the mix of Mark 12A and Mark 21 warheads for the single RV minuteman. This program is predicated on the successful ratification of START II which will determine the availability of Mark 21 warheads and the timelines under which such a transition would occur.
STRATEGIC FORCE INDUSTRIAL BASE
QUESTION 34: From your perspective, are there key sectors of the U.S. industrial base that must be protected in order to sustain U.S. strategic forces for the foreseeable future?
ANSWER: It is my personal conviction that the support and sustainment of our strategic systems are absolutely essential to ensure a continued, viable deterrent. Our Nation has in hand or near the end of production all of its major strategic systems. Since there are no follow-on systems in development, the existing systems must be maintained for an unforeseeable length of time. Therefore, it is crucial for us to ensure continued support for key strategic components and systems unique to our strategic forces. The Strategic Advisory Group that advises USCINCSTRAT has studied the industrial base and continues to assess areas of concern. Some of the key ballistic missile sectors they have identified that must be protected to sustain our ICBM/SLBM forces include ballistic missile propulsion production capability, re-entry vehicle technology, guidance systems, and component vulnerability to electromagnetic pulse. If confirmed, I will continue to support efforts to sustain our industrial base.
QUESTION 35: What is the current status of on-going efforts in this area?
ANSWER: It is my understanding that USSTRATCOM, in coordination with the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Services, is pursuing industrial capability sustainment initiatives which support space-based communication and sensor systems, strategic missile guidance technology, propellant technology, and reentry vehicle design capability. The Radiation Hardened Micro-Electronics Oversight Council, under the auspices of the Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition and Technology) is an example of how present concerns are being addressed. Additionally, the Strategic Advisory Groupís Industrial Base Special Study Group is studying future industrial base concerns. Supporting crucial technologies and systems is key to keeping our strategic forces robust, reliable, and moderncredible.
NUCLEAR POSTURE REVIEW
QUESTION 36: Do you believe that any of the findings or recommendations contained in the 1994 Nuclear Posture Review need to be reconsidered?
ANSWER: No, not at this time. The Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) was a comprehensive review of all aspects of our nuclear force structure and policies. This review was conducted over a period of 14 months by representatives from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, combatant commanders, and the military Services with full consideration of the existing political conditions, the best intelligence threat assessments, and with the expectation of a START II Treaty entry into force. I believe that the results of the NPR were valid for the conditions under which the review was conducted, and remain so today.
CONVENTIONAL BALLISTIC MISSILES
QUESTION 37: Do you believe that the United States should configure some part of its inventory of ICBMs and SLBMs to perform conventional missions, such as attacking deep underground facilities?
ANSWER: I am aware that the Services are evaluating the technological feasibility of using conventionally armed ballistic systems for long range strike. Arms control and policy implications of fielding a conventionally armed system of this type will have to be carefully studied and evaluated. At this time, I believe these systems require further engineering development prior to deployment and, like National Missile Defense, our armís control progress is closely linked to this issue. I support continued research and exploration of this capability. I am not convinced that any weapons should be reconfigured at this time.
ROLE OF STRATCOM
QUESTION 38: Please describe the role you intend to play, if confirmed, in assessing and participating in the Department of Energyís science based stockpile stewardship and management program.
ANSWER: USSTRATCOM is an active participant in the development of the overall strategy and plan. The United States must ensure that its nuclear stockpile remains safe, secure, and reliable. I recognize that USCINCSTRAT has specific responsibility in that regard. Since 1995, the President has required USCINCSTRAT to annually assess the safety and reliability of our nuclear stockpile. If confirmed, I intend to continue to carefully monitor DOE progress in developing a viable stockpile stewardship and management program.
QUESTION 39: What confidence do you have in our ability to certify warheads in the year 2008 and beyond?
ANSWER: Projecting to 2008 and beyond is difficult. The answer depends on the success of the science-based stockpile stewardship and management program. The Department of Energy is required to certify the reliability and safety of the nationís nuclear stockpile. USCINCSTRAT is charged with reporting on his confidence in the safety and reliability as part of an annual certification process. The certification process is more difficult without nuclear testing, but the national laboratory experts testify that they are confident they can do the job provided the promised tools of the stewardship program are delivered on schedule and funding levels are maintained.
QUESTION 40: Are you confident in our ability to identify potential problems in all weapons expected to be included in the enduring stockpile?
ANSWER: My confidence in the ability to identify problems rests on the projected success of the science-based stockpile stewardship and management program. This will depend on fully funding the Presidentís program, and how successful we are in the years ahead in developing the complex technological tools and maintaining the necessary expertise in our people. It is crucial that Congress fully support these efforts. A key group of experts that assists USCINCSTRAT in identifying problems is the Strategic Advisory Group. They conduct an independent, annual assessment of the stockpile and advise USCINCSTRAT. To date, I am confident in the progress of the stockpile stewardship and management program. For the past two years, USSTRATCOM has conducted an examination of each strategic nuclear weapon type in the stockpile. In conducting that assessment, no issues were found which would warrant the resumption of nuclear testing. It is crucial that Congress fully support these efforts.
QUESTION 41: How might any uncertainties in warhead certification impact your ability to carry out your mission?
ANSWER: Warhead safety and reliability are crucial to our strategic mission. The certification process is of utmost importance to maintaining a nuclear deterrent. The process must be supported and carefully monitored. Uncertainties in warhead performance complicate planning, reduce flexibility, and degrade warplan effectiveness, especially at lower stockpile levels where each weapon takes on a proportionally greater role.
ANNUAL WARHEAD CERTIFICATION PROCESS
The administrative process for certifying the safety and reliability of the nuclear stockpile requires the Commander in Chief of the Strategic Command and the three nuclear weapons laboratory directors to certify annually to the President the current and future health of the nuclear stockpile.
QUESTION 42: If confirmed, would you provide Congress a copy of your annual certification?
ANSWER: The Department of Energy is responsible to certify the safety and reliability of the stockpile. USCINCSTRAT is charged with reporting on his confidence in the safety and reliability as part of an annual certification process directed by the President. The Secretaries of Defense and Energy co-sign the annual certification and are responsible for the control of the certification document. If confirmed, and if requested, I would provide my views to Congress.
LIMITEDLMITED LIFE COMPONENTS
QUESTION 43: How confident are you in the Departmentís ability to manufacture limited life components for the enduring stockpile?
ANSWER: I am confident that the Department of Energy will meet DoD needs in maintaining the required stockpile levels. If confirmed, I will closely monitor the process. Given the importance of the issue and the uncertainties about the future, their plans must stay on track.
QUESTION 44: Do you support maintaining a nuclear weapon production infrastructure at existing labs and production plants such that we will be able to reconstitute specific weapons or weapon components at a START I level?
ANSWER: Yes. Congressional direction requires that START I force levels be maintained until START II is ratified and I support this direction. Sustaining our forces will require support from many organizations including the existing national laboratories and production plants. Due to the unique characteristics of nuclear weapons it is of utmost importance that we maintain an infrastructure to support our nuclear weapon systems. Accordingly, I support maintaining a nuclear weapons production infrastructure.
QUESTION 45: Can you comment on the Department of Energyís dual track approach to restore tritium production?
ANSWER: We must have the tritium required to support DoD requirements. I would become concerned if tritium is not projected to be available when required. Having a dual-track approach appears to provide options to assure a source of tritium is available. Given current funding constraints, I would prefer to see DOE make an early decision on this. Cost should be a major part of the decision.
QUESTION 46: Do you believe we can delay delivery of new tritium beyond the current requirement date of 2005?
ANSWER: The delivery of new tritium depends on the size of the force structure and the arms control regime in effect at the time. In 2005, present tritium reserves will no longer support START I force levels. New tritium delivery can be delayed several years if START II is ratified and we move to a START II force structure, but will require a change to national stockpile policy. The final determination depends on the final START II force structure.
QUESTION 47: If confirmed, would you commit to look closely at the tritium requirement under START I, START II, and START III scenarios to see that there is not a mismatch between DoD out years budgets for platforms and tritium requirements for warheads?
ANSWER: If confirmed, yes I will. I will not request production of any more tritium than is required to support our national policy.
MAINTAINING NUCLEAR WEAPONS EXPERTISE IN THE MILITARY
QUESTION 48: What actions would you propose to take as CINCSTRAT to ensure that nuclear-related jobs are not viewed as career limited and that nuclear programs continue to attract top quality officers and enlisted personnel?
ANSWER: I fully support Service programs that are vital to ensure we have the highest quality of men and women needed for our nuclear forces. This includes initiatives to identify and track those personnel with nuclear experience. If confirmed as USCINCSTRAT, and as the lead spokesman for our strategic forces, I will ensure the word is out on our successes. For example, officer and enlisted personnel are being promoted at the highest rate since the stand-up of USSTRATCOM and members completing duties are receiving assignments that enhance their professional development. I believe it is critical that we continue to communicate the challenging opportunities and the successes of the men and women assigned to our strategic nuclear forces.
QUESTION 49: Please define a situation that might cause you to recommend to the President that the "supreme national interest" requires the conduct of a U.S. underground nuclear test?
ANSWER: If, for example, an age- related defect results in the performance degradation of a weapon type critical to our nuclear deterrent such that it is unable to meet mission requirements, if confirmed, I would immediately notify the Secretary of Defense. Under Safeguard F, described in the Presidentís August 1995 announcement of his "zero yield" policy, the President has stated that, if he is so advised by the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Energy, and in consultation with Congress, then he would be prepared to withdraw from the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty under the standard "supreme national interests" clause in order to , and in consultation with Congress, conduct necessary nuclear tests.
COMPREHENSIVE TEST BAN TREATY
QUESTION 50: Do you believe that the US can maintain a safe and reliable nuclear weapons stockpile under the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty?
ANSWER: Yes, provided the science-based stockpile stewardship and management program proceeds as designed. Today, our experts project that we can maintain a high confidence in the safety and reliability of our nuclear stockpile with the success of the stewardship program. This requires full program funding and the successful development of new technology. The planned tools are designed to give us a degree of confidence in the stockpile that would not otherwise be possible without nuclear testing. Until those tools are operational, some degradation in the reliability of the stockpile is possible, but I cannot judge its significance at this time. Within the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, Safeguard F providesdocuments that the U.S. maywill resume testing if it is in the supreme national interest of the Nation. In that regard, USCINCSTRAT is charged with reporting on his confidence in the safety and reliability of the stockpile as part of an annual certification process directed by the President. For the past two years, USSTRATCOM has conducted an examination of each strategic nuclear weapon type in the stockpile. In conducting that assessment, no issues were found which would warrant the resumption ofrequired nuclear testing.
NUCLEAR WEAPONS COUNCIL
QUESTION 51: How do you see your relationship with the DOE, and with the Nuclear Weapons Council?
ANSWER: A close, cooperative relationship with both the Department of Energy and the Nuclear Weapons Council, as well as other organizations such as the new Defense Threat Reduction Agency, is vital to address the challenges of ensuring a safe and reliable nuclear weapons stockpile, building a stable foundation for the implementation of arms control agreements, and helping shape the international environment to promote the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. If confirmed, I would strive to foster a strong partnership with each of these organizations and frequently seek their counsel to address those challenges.
QUESTION 52: Under any of the various START III scenarios do you believe that 14 Trident submarines will be necessary?
ANSWER: Yes. Trident submarines will continue to carry the largest portion of our strategic forces under any START III scenario. Our SSBN force is the most survivable leg of the Triad. Thus, the U.S. must preserve a large enough SSBN force to enable two-ocean operations with sufficient assets at sea to ensure a survivable, retaliatoryresponsive retaliatoryforce capable of dissuading any potential adversary.
QUESTION 53: Do you see any scenario when fewer submarines would be adequate?
ANSWER: No, not under START III. The need for survivable submarines at sea will be necessary under any START III scenario. Fourteen Trident submarines allow a credible, two-ocean, strategic deterrent presence with our projected maintenance cycle and operating environment.
EXTREMELY LOW FREQUENCY COMMUNICATIONS
QUESTION 54: Do you support continued operation of the Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) communications system?
ANSWER: Yes, I support continued operation of the ELF communications system. A strong command and control capability remains of utmost importance to the success of our Nationís strategic deterrence. Post-Cold War strategic force reductions have resulted in more emphasis on submarines in our strategic triad. ELF is a unique and highly effective system capable of one-way communications with strategic submarines at secure operating depths and speeds. While other communication systems require a submarines to deploy an antenna at or near the ocean surface, the ELF system allows communication further from the surface thereby increasing operational flexibility and maximizing the stealth inherent in our strategic submarines. Both ELF transmission sites, operating simultaneously, are required to meet our worldwide requirements.
QUESTION 55: Do you believe that this system is cost effective and necessary, especially in light of other U.S. decisions to downgrade U.S. strategic command and control?
ANSWER: The ELF system is very cost effective. A nuclear command and control review conducted in support of the Nuclear Posture Review strongly supported the continued operation of the ELF system. Loss of this critical system would adversely impact the survivability and flexibility of our strategic submarine force.
MAJOR CHALLENGES AND PROBLEMS
QUESTION 56: In your view, what are the major challenges confronting the Commander in Chief, United States Strategic Command?
ANSWER: I believe there are four major challenges:
QUESTION 57: Assuming you are confirmed, what plans do you have for addressing these challenges?
ANSWER: If confirmed:
QUESTION 58: What do you consider to be the most serious problems within USSTRATCOM?
ANSWER: USSTRATCOM's challenge is to continue to ensure a viable deterrent for the nation. We need to maintain and strengthen the stability of our strategic relationship as we further reduce our forces. this deterrent posture for the long haul. Weapons platforms will typically need to be sustained well beyond their initial design lives. Industrial sectors on which we rely must not be allowed to atrophy. We must maintain the safety and reliability of our nuclear weapons stockpile. And we must always support and keep faith with our people. We ask a lot of them and their families, whether on alert, on patrol, on deployment, or juggling multiple missions with fewer resources.
QUESTION 59: If confirmed, what management action and timetables would you establish to address these problems?
ANSWER: If confirmed, I would promptly:
If confirmed, you will be entering this important position at a time of concern about the adequacy of the budget, force levels, and readiness of our forces.
QUESTION 60: What background and experience do you have that you believe qualifies you for this position?
ANSWER: As a submariner, I have extensive background and experience in US and allied strategic submarine operations. I have served as the Executive Assistant to the CNOís deputy for undersea warfare, the Chief of Staff of the Pacific Submarine Force, the Commander of US and allied (NATO) submarines in the Mediterranean, and most recently, as the Commander of US and allied (NATO) submarines in the Atlantic. I am a "plankowner" of US Strategic Command. I was assigned to the Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff (JSTPS) during the transition of the Strategic Air Command headquarters to US Strategic Command and I subsequently served as the Director, Strategic Target Plans and Deputy Director, Plans and Policy at USSTRATCOM. In that capacity I was responsible for development of the SIOP, our Nationís strategic war plans, modernization of the strategic war planning system (SWPS), and closely involved in the formulation of many of our strategic plans and policies. I also worked closely with members of the JCS, US Air Force, DOE nuclear laboratories, and the Strategic Advisory Group on a wide range of strategic deterrence issues during this period. I was an active participant in the Nuclear Posture Review. I have had extensive post-graduate and professional education in political-military affairs.
QUESTION 61: Do you believe that there are any steps that you need to take to enhance your expertise to perform the duties of the Commander in Chief, USSTRATCOM?
ANSWER: I still have much to learn. There are many organizations that contribute to the success of USSTRATCOM that I have not worked with on a regular basis (Congress, National Security Council, Nuclear Weapons Council, Defense Threat Reduction Agency, and others). If confirmed, I will make it a priority to become more familiar with these organizations and work closely with them to contribute to the success of our missions.
In order to exercise its legislative and oversight responsibilities, it is important that this Committee and other appropriate committees of the Congress are able to receive testimony, briefings, and other communications of information.
QUESTION 62: Do you agree, if confirmed for this high position, to appear before this Committee and other appropriate committees of the Congress?
ANSWER: Yes. If confirmed, it is my duty to keep you, the representatives of the people, informed of the status of our strategic deterrent forces.
QUESTION 63: Do you agree, when asked, to give your personal views, even if those views differ from the Administration in power?
ANSWER: Yes. It is my responsibility to provide the best military advice regardless of the Administrationís views.
QUESTION 64: Do you agree, if confirmed, to appear before this Committee, or designated members of this Committee, and provide information, subject to appropriate and necessary security protection, with respect to your responsibilities as CINC USSTRATCOM?
ANSWER: Yes. If confirmed, I will make myself available to this committee or designated members whenever requested.
QUESTION 65: Do you agree to ensure that testimony, briefings, and other communications of information are provided to this Committee and its staff and other appropriate Committees?
ANSWER: Yes. I will be forthcoming with all information requested.