Speaker: Lieutenant General Jack Weinstein
Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration, Headquarters U. S. Air Force, Washington D.C.
Not sure if some of the usual attendees were getting bread and milk in preparation for Winter Storm Benji, but they missed a GREAT speaker on Friday afternoon. Those that were present were treated to a talk by General Jack Weinstein about the importance and strength of the United States Deterrent Nuclear Capabilities.
General Weinstein began his presentation with a reminder of the scary times we live in. He noted this is not like the cold war, it is not an arms race. The United States is the subject of a strategic campaign of challenge by our enemies. It is meant to invoke fear. But yet, even with all the global uncertainty, Americans are able to enjoy their holiday because they feel safe. He said we feel safe because we have a nuclear capability to backstop our safety. A powerful capability to use when all else fails.
According to the General, that capability has two core foundations – people and communications. He also said that modernization is critical. While the need for the triad (ICBM, Bomber and Submarines) will always be absolutely necessary, a SPACE capability is also important. The protection of our nation needs the unblinking eye. It requires reliable and secure communications. Then he showed attendees an actual 8 ½ floppy (yes, they still exist outside of a museum). Wryly, he said – current system is fragile and needs updated.
Then General Weinstein had questions for us – how are we, industry, protecting our IP? How are our sub tier vendors protecting their information? Where do we get our raw materials? Can we be sure the components are real and not fake? How bout in 2030? Our Supply Chains are more complex and the bedrock of a deterrent force. Additionally, acquisition is lethargic. The processes and systems the mission staff rely on need to be updated. They also need to be faster and secure.
The general’s last question to us was: How do we protect our systems in 2017, 2020? 2030? As a nation, we do not have luxury to take 30 years to develop updated systems. We do not have the extra funding to cover overruns in cost. Finally, after he finished scaring us, the self-proclaimed Eternal Optimist offered us these thoughts: We can do it - because we’ve done it before. This nation sent a man to the moon in 3 years. We’ve built B-24 bombers – 1 every 63 minutes for World War II. It’s not more complicated than these efforts. No excuses. No problem is insurmountable by Americans.
After his speech, General Weinstein then graciously answered questions from the attendees, noting, to some relief, that the systems today can do the mission, but the challenge is to keep it moving forward. He noted that is where we can help.
General Weinstein ended his speech with a story about the real Rosie the Riveter and what she said when he asked her how she did what she did - her answer was that the secret to longevity is to never say no and keep moving. This is the best gift we can give ourselves this holiday season and remember as we do our jobs in the new year.
Peace on Earth, Good will to All!
Don’t sleep on the new year – be sure to check out the upcoming events at the AFCEA NOVA calendar. The next luncheon is Friday January 19th at the Sheraton. The 16th Annual Air, Space, and Cyber IT Day is on the 31st at the Fairview Park Marriott in Falls Church! – get ahead of your New Year’s resolution to get involved and register!
Have a safe Holiday Season!