STRATCOM Commander: No Time for Delay to Modernize

 The commander of the United States Strategic Command stressed that time is of the essence in modernizing U.S. defense capabilities.

Adm. Charles Richard highlighted the nation’s preparedness in the most recent session of the Tennessee Valley Corridor Virtual Summit Series.

Some 400 government, industry, and education professionals from across the Tennessee Valley Corridor attended the session which focused on America’s new national security challenges, highlighting the role the Tennessee Valley plays in defending against cyber, nuclear, and other combatant threats.

In his keynote address, Richard, a Decatur native, described how the post-Cold War strategies of the past few decades are no longer sufficient in this changing world. He also drew attention to the deteriorating materiel across all branches of the military, as the federal government is now working alongside industry partners to rapidly address these modernization needs.

“I – and we – must have the capabilities necessary to deliver a decisive response and do it with a combat ready force,” said Richard. “Looking forward, there is no margin left for delay with our recapitalization and modernization timelines.”

The session also included an overview of current threats to our nation’s security from Sean Williams, president/CEO of Protection Strategies Inc. PSI is an East Tennessee-based firm engaged in contract security services nationally and internationally.

Ted Sherry, Vice President of CNS (operator of the Texas-based Pantex Plant and the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn.), led a discussion on how regional partners are working to meet these security challenges. Panelists included: Blake Scott, Director of Lithium Transformation at Y-12; John Stewart, President of Nuclear Fuel Services; Dr. Skip Bartol, Associate Dean of Research at Auburn University; and Jason Coker, Vice Director at U.S. Air Force Arnold Engineering Development Complex.

View the full session of the TVC Virtual Summit Series on the TVC YouTube channel at

The next virtual session is noon (Central) Thursday when Tennessee Education Commissioner Dr. Penny Schwinn will deliver the keynote as a panel discusses workforce development challenges in the TVC. Visit