US Northern Command is responsible for protecting the American homeland. Domain knowledge is a major element of defense, and it features in President Biden’s 2023 budget request currently before Congress.
“What challenges us is the unknown,” Air Force Gen. Glen D. VanHerck, commander of US Northern Command, said Thursday at the Aspen Security Conference in the United States. Colorado. “What I mean by the unknown are domain awareness challenges. The first one I would tell you is underwater domain awareness. surveillance of submarines in the future will only increase.”
Domain awareness challenges also exist for hypersonic cruise missiles and cybernetic domain awareness, VanHerck said.
“The good news is that we are working to resolve this issue,” he said. “And the department has done a fantastic job in the budget this year — the president’s budget for field outreach,” he said. “There are four radars over the horizon in the budget, so I’m looking forward to that.”
Regarding the modernization of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, VanHerck said Canadian Minister of National Defense Anita Anand recently announced plans for new over-the-horizon radar systems that will provide better of the domain when it comes to tracking threats from the Arctic Circle all the way down. at the border between the United States and Canada.
Also in the 2023 budget proposal, VanHerck said, an additional underwater domain awareness capability in the Navy.
“I’m very encouraged by where we’re going, but we still have challenges ahead,” he said.
Another aspect of domain awareness and keeping Northcom abreast of threats in the United States involves better use of artificial intelligence and machine learning, VanHerck said.
“We need to move faster in developing these capabilities,” he said. “When you have information and data, the question is ‘how are you going to process it and disseminate it in a timely manner?'”
Accurate processing of information from sensors provides intelligence that enables leaders, such as the president, to make important decisions about the defense of the United States, VanHerck said.
“What I’m trying to do is create decision space; decision space equals deterrence options,” he said. “To do that, you have to analyze that data and that information — that domain awareness data — through the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence. Machines can count the number of cars in parking lots, the number of vehicles in weapon loading areas and alert Today, often we don’t use the machines to analyze this data in a timely manner, so I think we can go faster there.
The Ministry of Defense called China a “rhythmic threat”. Right now, the threat from China may not be as immediate as it seems, even if the threat is growing, VanHerck said.
“Let me say first that we have the strongest military on the planet,” VanHerck said. “But the Chinese want to move us. And they are on the right track to acquire important capabilities.”
VanHerck, who also commands NORAD, said evidence of China’s military progress includes the growth of their nuclear and conventional forces, including hypersonic technologies.
“They’re well on their way to approaching peer-to-peer status with us,” VanHerck said.
Russia is now also identified as an “acute threat” by the United States. And while it appears Russian efforts in Ukraine have not yet turned out the way US defense leaders think Moscow might have hoped, VanHerck said the threat posed by Russia should not be discounted.
“I don’t want to say that…Russia has failed,” he said. “They struggled in the land realm. What I would say to you is that in their conventional capabilities, their long-range distance capabilities, they display significant capabilities. It’s the threat that worries me to the homeland. So I wouldn’t say underestimate Russia, and I wouldn’t say China is 10 feet tall right now, but they certainly aspire to compete with us on a comparable level.”