US Strategic Command
The United States Strategic Command, or USSTRATCOM, is headquartered at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. The command is one of nine U.S. unified commands under the Department of Defense.
USSTRATCOM is the command and control center for U.S. strategic forces and controls military space operations, computer network operations, information operations, strategic warning and intelligence assessments as well as global strategic planning.
The command is responsible for both early warning of and defense against missile attack and long-range conventional attacks. The command is charged with deterring and defending against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
The command has worldwide functional responsibilities not bound by any single area of operations. The command's scope of responsibilities includes the interrelated areas of space operations, information operations, computer network operations, and strategic defense and attack. Tying these areas together is a globally focused command and control, communications and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance network (C3ISR).
Associated responsibilities include the following:
- Deterring conflict by posturing forces to conduct operations in response to the threat of a major military attack on the United States.
- Employing forces as directed by the Department of Defense and the president.
- Coordinating directly with other combatant commanders and supporting other commanders with assigned forces as directed by the Department of Defense and the president.
- Conducting integrated strategic operational planning.
- Conducting worldwide strategic reconnaissance when appropriate.
- Coordinating with service component commanders and supporting combatant commanders on issues relating to the organizing, training, equipping and support of forces for USSTRATCOM missions.
- Providing a voice on all matters related to strategic policies, force structure, and modernization, as well as implications of arms control initiatives on that structure.
U.S. Strategic Command is part of a rich history that spans both the interrelated strategic and space communities.
As part of the ongoing initiative to transform the U.S. military into a 21st century fighting force, the DoD merged U.S. Space Command with USSTRATCOM on Oct. 1, 2002. The merger improves combat effectiveness and speeds up information collection and assessment needed for strategic decision-making. The merged command will be responsible for both early warning of and defense against missile attack as well as long-range strategic attacks.
With the command merging with U.S. Space Command in October 2002, USSTRATCOM can trace its roots back to not only its strategic beginnings but to American military space development as well.
In 1945, World War II was over, the nuclear age was upon us, and a Cold War would soon develop between the United States and Soviet Union. Established in March 1946, the U.S. Air Force's Strategic Air Command (SAC) at Offutt AFB, Nebraska, with its bomber force, symbolized the cornerstone of national strategic policy: deterrence -- deterrence against the growing nuclear arsenal of the Soviet Union.
As its contribution to national deterrence, the U.S. Navy began developing nuclear forces. In the late 1950s, with the advent of the Navy's Polaris ballistic missile submarine and the Air Force's first intercontinental ballistic missile, national leadership recognized the need for a single agency to plan and target all U.S. nuclear forces. As a result, the Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff (JSTPS) was established in 1960. Its mission was to produce the Nation's strategic nuclear war plan, the Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP). The JSTPS was housed with SAC to take full advantage of SAC's existing war-planning expertise, intelligence capability and an extensive communications network.
It was the combination of the unique capabilities of the Navy's submarine launched ballistic missiles along with the Air Force's bombers and ICBMs that came to be known as the Strategic Nuclear Triad. For almost forty years, the Triad provided a visible, credible deterrent against Soviet aggression.
On June 1, 1992, with the Berlin Wall down, the Warsaw Pact a memory and the Soviet Union nonexistent, SAC and the JSTPS also took their place in the history books of the Cold War. That same day, U.S. Strategic Command was established. Its mission of deterrence would sound familiar, but its structure and role would reflect the changing international political landscape.
With STRATCOM, for the first time in U. S. history, the planning, targeting and wartime employment of strategic forces came under the control of a single commander while the day-to-day training, equipping and maintenance responsibilities for its forces remained with the services -- the Air Force and Navy.
With over half a century of effective deterrence, the command today faces new global challenges that cross many boundaries, and require a globally-oriented command, integrating space operations and global strike capabilities using the full range of weaponry available today.
On Oct. 1, 2002, USSTRATCOM and U.S. Space Command both disestablished and a new U.S. Strategic Command stood up at Offutt AFB, responsible for the missions of both.
The history and legacy of strategic and space operations is represented in the U.S. Strategic Command emblem. The gauntlet is a symbol of strength, power, and loyalty and represents the command's partnership with science and industry. The lightening bolts symbolize lethality and speed while the olive branch is a constant reminder of the command's mission of securing the objectives of peace. The globe, as viewed from space, symbolizes the earth as being the origin and control point for all space vehicles and represents the command's span of operations. Encompassing the globe are orbital paths crossed diagonally, each bearing two polestars, detailed white, representing the command's satellite platforms and their worldwide coverage in accomplishing the intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, communications, early warning, and navigation missions. The various emblem colors represent the joint character and rigor of the command. Green represents the command's land-based strategic and space command and control infrastructure. The blue command designation band represents the command's air-based and responsive ballistic missile force, agile bomber assets, aerial refueling, reconnaissance aircraft, and airborne command platforms. The emblem's design is surrounded by a gold braid, which represents a nautical theme to recognize the command's survivable sea-based ballistic submarine forces. The two sets of four silver stars between the lettering represent the command's leadership as well as the fusion of the four armed services into a unified command with a strategic global perspective.
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