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StratCom Chief Calls for ‘Aggressive’ State and Defense Department Engagement with Russia and China

April 5, 2017 (EIRNS)—Gen. John Hyten, commander of U.S. Strategic Command and, as such, the chief of all U.S. nuclear forces, during testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday described "aggressive" engagement with both Russia and China as necessary to avoid misunderstandings.

"I continue to advocate engagement," Hyten said, in response to a series of questions from Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), the ranking Democrat on the committee.

"I know Secretary Mattis has said we’ve had a long history of engagement and not a long history of success.... Nonetheless, I would like to have an aggressive State Department engagement, aggressive Department of Defense engagements. That includes mil-to-mil engagements with my counterparts in Russia, China. In particular, I think it’s always better to be able to pick up the phone and talk to somebody before something bad happens to have some kind of relationship and look across the table and make sure they understand I’m very serious about this business."

Prior to giving that answer, Reed had asked Hyten about Russia’s "escalate to de-escalate" nuclear doctrine, and wanted to know how the U.S. was going to communicate to Russia that this was not acceptable to the United States. Regardless, however, the kind of "aggressive engagement" that Hyten is calling for would go both ways, that is, Russian concerns about U.S. military deployments would be transmitted from Moscow to Washington, as well.