U.S. Strategic Command’s Admiral Richard: 150,000 Warriors at the Ready Despite Pandemic

On Monday, Admiral Charles A. “Chas” Richard, commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, spoke to reporters about his mission set and the corona virus.

In this leadership role Adm. Richard leads 150,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and civilians. The U.S. Strategic Command has been and continues to be fully mission capable, despite the challenges that have been presented due to the corona virus.

The commander credits his department’s leadership team for giving them the authorities, resources and understanding of the battle they were up against. This support allowed them the ability to be able to respond to the unprecedented threat of the pandemic.

The conditions in Omaha remain favorable. They have adjusted the workforce in the new LeMay Command and Control Facility.  They are at about 75 percent full throttle and the rest are on telework, although they have the capability to go up or down, as conditions dictate.

He expressed gratitude for his component commanders, Admiral Chris Grady, General Tom Ray and — or Tim Ray, and Dan Karbler at SMDC for the Army. They have provided great leadership to adapt to their local conditions and maintain all their forces fully mission-capable.

Despite the fact that the Armed Forces have been dealing with the corona virus, there are still threats that need to be managed. No country has given up a single nuclear weapon.

“Our competitors have continued to develop both nonstrategic and strategic capabilities in an effort to outpace us. And we are going into a very different world. We are on a trajectory for the first time in our nation’s history to face two peer nuclear-capable competitors who have to be deterred differently, and we’re working very hard to meet that challenge,” Adm. Richard said.

Russia remains a threat to the US with the weapons they are developing and modernizing. China also remains a threat, as they are discussing doubling their stockpile of weapons by the end of the decade. This is contrary to the stated no-first-use policy.

A visible demonstration that indicates the US is ready are the bomber task force missions that have been operating worldwide. They are able to support the U.S. European Command and the Indo-Pacific Command, providing forces to accomplish their military objectives.

The department that Adm. Richard leads has made a lot of progress in its nuclear command and control capabilities. They wisely decided to establish the NC3 Enterprise Center. They are moving out and making great strides to ensure that the NC3 systems that we have will continue to pace the threat. They’re certainly fully mission-capable now and will remain so going forward.

Richard does see the NC3 fitting hand-in-glove into the broader department’s Command and Control JADC2 framework. They are also able to provide the secretary and the chairman an overall view of their NC3, which they haven’t been able to do in many years.

“We’re ready but we’ll continue to have to work to maintain our — in a world with changing threats on us. I’m very proud of the men and women of U.S. Strategic Command,” the commander said.

He continued, “The way we have put the strategic forces and capabilities of this nation together from day one, we were always very humble in our ability to anticipate threats — we always built in margin, we always built in hedge, not only for the risks that we could foresee but the risks that we might not be able to foresee.”

Adm. Richard’s predecessors that made wise decisions are a big reason why they remain mission capable. These decisions gave them the capability, flexibility and everything needed to be able to respond to the things that they didn’t see coming. “And that’s an important thing…An important attribute I think we need to keep in mind as we think about the recapitalization of these systems,” he said.

Adm. Richard‘s operational assignments included command of USS Parche (SSN-683) as well as Submarine NR-1, then the United States Navy’s only nuclear-powered, deep-submergence submarine. He also served aboard USS Portsmouth (SSN-707), USS Asheville (SSN-758) and USS Scranton (SSN-756).

His staff assignments included service as the executive assistant and naval aide to the Under Secretary of the Navy; chief of staff, Submarine Force Atlantic; and command of Submarine Squadron 17 in Bangor, Washington. Other staff assignments include director of resources, Under Secretary of Defense (Policy); squadron engineer of Submarine Squadron 8 and duty on the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Submarine Warfare) staff. He has also served as a member of Chief of Naval Operations’ Strategic Studies Group XXVIII, studying the integration of unmanned systems into naval force structure.

Flag officer assignments included command of Submarine Group 10 in Kings Bay, Georgia; director of Undersea Warfare (OPNAV N97), Pentagon, and deputy commander, Joint Functional Component Command for Global Strike at United States Strategic Command.

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