United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) is one of the eleven unified combatant commands in the United States Department of Defense. Headquartered at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, USSTRATCOM is responsible for strategic deterrence, global strike, and operating the Defense Department's Global Information Grid. It also provides a host of capabilities to support the other combatant commands, including strategic warning; integrated missile defense; and global command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR). This dynamic command gives national leadership a unified resource for greater understanding of specific threats around the world and the means to respond to those threats rapidly.
USSTRATCOM employs tailored nuclear, cyber, global strike, joint electronic warfare, missile defense, and intelligence capabilities to deter aggression, decisively respond if deterrence fails, assure allies, shape adversary behavior, defeat terror, and define the force of the future.
Embrace strategic deterrence, consisting of innovative joint fighting forces integrated and synchronized in multiple domains to ensure national security.
Ensure that we can and will provide a decisive response to aggression, against any threat, when called upon by national leadership.
Anticipate and meet tactical, theater, and strategic demands through our campaign plan, our operational plans, and capability development.
Develop the next generation of professionals and capabilities in order to prevail in future conflicts.
Headquarters organizational structure
J1 – Manpower & Personnel: Develops and administers command manpower and personnel policies, human resources, and personnel assignment programs.
A Minuteman III ICBM in its missile silo
J2 – Intelligence: Responsible for delivering all-source intelligence while enabling the execution of assigned strategic deterrence, space and cyberspace operations. Directs all intelligence-related support for the commander and ensures unity of intelligence effort across the Command.
J3 – Global Operations: Coordinates the planning, employment and operation of DoD strategic assets and combines all current operations, intelligence, and global command and control operations. Subdivisions within J3 include Combat and Information Operations, Current Operations, Logistics, and Joint Electromagnetic Spectrum Operations (JEMSO).
USS West Virginia, Ohio Class SSBN
J4 – Logistics: The Logistics Directorate plans, coordinates and executes joint logistics functions, and provides capability-based readiness assessments and facilities management in support of U.S. Strategic Command's global mission.
J5 – Plans and Policy: Responsible for coordinating the development and implementation of national security policy as it applies to the command and the execution of its mission. Develops future plans, policy and strategy across all mission areas as outlined in the Unified Command Plan.
B-52 and B-2 flying in formation
J6 – C4 Systems: Coordinates, facilitates, monitors and assesses systems, networks and communications requirements.
J7 – Joint Exercises, Training and Assessments: Manages the USSTRATCOM commander's Joint Exercises, Training, and Assessments programs in order to ensure readiness to perform the Command missions. Provides modeling and simulation support for exercises and training events to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), Combatant Commands, and other Major Commands (MAJCOM). Manages the Joint Lessons Learned Program. Augments the battle staff during a crisis.
J8 – Capability and Resource Integration: Conducts force management and analysis to include integrating, coordinating, prioritizing, and advocating USSTRATCOM future concepts, mission capability needs, weapons system development, support for emerging technologies, and command and control architecture across the mission areas. Responsible for all command requirement processes, and ensures appropriate decision support tools and assessment processes are in place to enhance operational capabilities.
J10 – Joint Reserve Directorate: The Joint Reserve Directorate advises CDRUSSTRATCOM and staff on matters related to the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps Reserve personnel assigned to USSTRATCOM. The J10 coordinates Reserve funding requests with the applicable service.
U.S. Strategic Command's day-to-day planning and execution for the primary mission areas is done by the following USSTRATCOM components:
Joint Force Air Component Commander (JFACC), Barksdale AFB, LA – Conducts kinetic (nuclear and conventional) and non-kinetic effects planning and execution. JFACC manages global force air activities to assure allies and to deter and dissuade actions detrimental to the United States and its global interests; should deterrence fail, employs global strike air forces (bombers and ICBMs) in support of combatant commander.
JFCC – Integrated Missile Defense (JFCC-IMD) Schriever AFB, CO – JFCC-IMD is constantly monitoring for any missile activity or threat against the United States and its allies. In the event of an attack, IMD plans and coordinates the necessary actions to counter the threat. When directed, also provides alternate missile defense execution support.
Joint Warfare Analysis Center (JWAC) Dahlgren, VA – The Joint Warfare Analysis Center (JWAC) provides combatant commands, Joint Staff, and other customers with precise technical solutions in order to carry out the national security and military strategies of the United States. JWAC maintains and enhances its ability to conduct comprehensive technical analysis.
The Global Operations Center, or GOC, is the nerve center for USSTRATCOM. The GOC is responsible for the global situational awareness of the commander, USSTRATCOM, and is the mechanism by which he exercises operational command and control of the Nation's global strategic forces.
Gen. Curtis E. LeMay Building, U.S. Strategic Command Headquarters
E-6B Mercury, USSTRATCOM ABNCP
Airborne Command Post
USSTRATCOM Airborne Command Post crew members responding to their aircraft during an alert response exercise
U.S. Strategic Command's Airborne Command Post (ABNCP), also called "Looking Glass", allows USSTRATCOM the ability to command, control, and communicate with its nuclear forces should ground-based command centers become inoperable.
USSTRATCOM was originally formed in 1992, as a successor to Strategic Air Command in response to the end of the Cold War and a new vision of nuclear warfare in U.S. defense policy. Department of Defense changes in command structure due to the "Goldwater-Nichols Act" of 1986, led to a single command responsible for all strategic nuclear weapons. As a result, USSTRATCOM's principal mission was to deter military attack, and if deterrence failed, to counter with nuclear weapons.
Throughout its history, it has drawn from important contributions from many different organizations stretching back to World War II. Providing national leadership with a single command responsible for all strategic nuclear forces, General George Butler, in establishing the new command, borrowed from the work of General Curtis LeMay, an early commander of Strategic Air Command. LeMay was a very vocal advocate for a strong national defense, particularly as regards nuclear weapons.
Being a Unified Command, another major concern for Gen. Butler was interservice rivalry, having soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines in one command. There had been decades of rivalry between the branches of the U.S. military regarding control of nuclear weapons. Even though a compromise had established the Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff, there were systemic and institutional problems that could not be overcome.
USSTRATCOM was re-structured 1 October 2002 by Secretary of DefenseDonald Rumsfeld. It was now to merge with the United States Space Command and assume all duties for full-spectrum global strike, operational space support, integrated missile defense, and global Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) and specialized planning. Its duties now include intelligence and cyber support as well as monitoring orbiting satellites and space debris.
In February 2008, USSTRATCOM succeeded in destroying a satellite, USA193, about to re-enter the earth's atmosphere.
^ abcRita Clark (LtCol, USAFR); Dr. Vincent Giroux, Jr.; Dr. Todd White (15 August 2013). History of the United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) – Nuclear Weapons, Cold War Strategy, Service Rivalries, Arms Control. Progressive Management. ISBN978-1-30-101083-7.
^"History". US Strategic Command. January 2018. Retrieved 29 July 2018. In addition to the dramatic changes in the global landscape associated with the end of the Cold War, changes in the structure of the DoD stemming from the 1986 "Goldwater-Nichols Act" led national leaders to favor a single command responsible for all strategic nuclear forces. The new command's principal mission was to deter military attack, especially nuclear attack, on the United States and its allies and, if deterrence failed, to employ nuclear forces.
^"History". US Strategic Command. January 2018. Retrieved 29 July 2018. In 2011, it supported U.S. Africa Command's operations against Libya in a variety of ways, including long-range conventional strikes and ISR.