by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) in Nebraska
JENS STOLTENBERG [NATO Secretary General]: Thank you so much, General Hyten. It's great for me to be here and thank you for hosting me and my delegation.
The work and the responsibility at this Command is important for the whole Alliance. It's the supreme guarantee for credible deterrence and it keeps all Allies safe and secure. I visited this place, the same Command, back in 1980, then it was called Strategic Air Command. And I remember that, after the end of the Cold War, we all believed that nuclear deterrence was going to be less important; but we have seen that nuclear issues have actually become more important because we see proliferation of nuclear weapons, we see that old nuclear powers, as for instance Russia, are modernising their nuclear capabilities. And therefore we have to make sure that NATO continues to have credible and strong deterrence. And of course nuclear forces is a absolutely necessary part of a credible deterrence from the Alliance. So, we thank you so much for the briefing today, but we thank you also for the work you do here every day to keep all Allies safe.
MODERATOR: So, any questions?
QUESTION: Was there anything that stood out today while
JENS STOLTENBERG [NATO Secretary General]: I think what I learned today, which is very different from last time I was here in 1980, is that this Command is not only about strategic air forces, but now it's the
QUESTION: Mr Secretary, thank you very much for coming. Can you just tell us, you're here in the States and you're visiting very few locations, how was it important to come to STRATCOM?
JENS STOLTENBERG [NATO Secretary General]: Because STRATCOM is important for NATO. It's of course important for the United States, but the United States being the, by far, biggest and strongest NATO Ally, the capabilities that this Command provides are essential for all NATO Allies. This is about credible deterrence; and the purpose of credible and strong deterrence is of course not to provoke a conflict, but to prevent a conflict. And the work which is done here every day prevents conflicts, and that
At the same time, I think it's also important to understand that in NATO we are now increasing our focus on nuclear issues, because we see proliferation and we see also the modernisation of Russian forces, nuclear forces, and we see that they are integrating more and more, conventional forces with nuclear forces; and by doing so, Russia is also reducing the threshold for use of Russian nuclear weapons. And all this we have to follow closely; and therefore also we meet in the nuclear planning group in NATO, to discuss and to address these issues which are important for the whole Alliance.
MODERATOR: Last question.
QUESTION: Sir, you talked about the increasing importance of nuclear deterrence and strategic deterrence. Can you talk specifically about some of the ways that we combat those, especially regarding global security, regional security and 21st century deterrence? What can we do to combat
JENS STOLTENBERG [NATO Secretary General]: Well, nuclear deterrence is of course important, but that's only part of the deterrence that we deliver every day and it's about what the US delivers, but also what all NATO Allies deliver together. And NATO has, especially after the illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the pattern of reckless behaviour of Russia we have seen since then, but also the rise of Daesh, ISIS, we have responded by implementing the biggest reinforcement to our collective defence since the end of the Cold War. We have deployed troops to the eastern part of the Alliance, we have increased the readiness of our forces, tripled the size of the NATO Response Force, and for the first time in many, many years we are also investing more. Defence spending is now increasing across Europe and Canada. And on top of that, we are also of course strengthening our cyber defences and step by step, we're also building our missile defence. So, NATO is responding to a more unpredictable and challenging security environment and again, what's taking place here is important for that adaptation and how NATO is responding.
MODERATOR: Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you very much.
JENS STOLTENBERG [NATO Secretary General]: Thank you so much.