Nuclear deterrence keeping major power conflicts off the world stage: US Strategic Commander


WASHINGTON, June 21 (APP): Nuclear weapons have kept major power
conflict off the world stage, said head of the US Strategic Command, emphasizing the element of deterrence which helped avoided death and destruction from happening.
“That’s what our nuclear weapons have done for the world. They
don’t eliminate conflict – conflict will exist as long as human exists.
But what they have done is kept major power conflict off the world
stage,” Air Force Gen. John E. Hyten, Commander of the US Strategic
Command (Startcom) said at an event by Mitchell Institute on space,
nuclear and missile defense modernization.
“They’ve kept that huge death and destruction from happening when
you have major power conflicts that get out of control. It’s kept world
wars from happening. That’s the primary reason that we have to have
nuclear weapons,” the General said.
Startcom is one of nine unified commands in the US Department of
Defence and gives national leadership a unified resource for greater understanding of specific threats around the world and the means to
respond to those threats rapidly.
Gen Hyten said that Startcom was a global warfighting command whose
mission areas include nuclear, global strike, space, cyber, missile
defence and electronic warfare and more, and nuclear is the No 1
priority, according to a press release posted on the Pentagon website.
Listing priorities of his Command, Gen. Hyten stated that it provides
strategic deterrence and, if deterrence fails, provides a decisive
response. He said nuclear was the backbone and has to be the US top priority.
Gen Hyten said between 60 million and 80 million people were killed
in World War II, or about 33,000 a day. But over the decade-long
experience in Vietnam, the nation lost 58,000 troops — just two days of casualties in WWII, he said, emphasizing the role of the nuclear weapons
in preventing death and destruction.
The Commander also underlined the need of modernizing the nuclear
triad – nuclear weapons delivery systems which comprise land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), strategic bombers, and submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs).
“Can you imagine a nuclear capability without the ICBM in the
missile fields? That creates a huge targeting problem for our
adversaries, because 400 separate ICBMs have to be targeted with
multiple weapons at a time in the middle of the United States to
defeat that threat,” Hyten was quoted as explaining the need for
having ICBMs or any other new programme.