Los Alamos National Labs with logo 2021

Generally speaking

Two of the most senior U.S. generals visited Los Alamos in recent months to speak to employees about how the Laboratory’s work is essential to America’s national security.
October 1, 2018
Two men shake hands on a tarmac; behind them is a helicopter.

Director Terry Wallace (right) greets STRATCOM Commander John E. Hyten upon his arrival in Los Alamos. STRATCOM is one of nine unified commands under the Department of Defense. It is responsible for the global command and control of U.S. strategic forces to meet decisive national security objectives, providing a broad range of strategic capabilities and options for the president and secretary of defense.


“What you do here is the most important work in the country. Deterrence starts and ends with nuclear weapons.” - General John Hyten

As part of the Laboratory’s 75th anniversary activities, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Paul Selva (USAF) visited the Laboratory on March 14. In a speech to employees, he stressed the importance of the strategic nuclear deterrent—and how it wouldn’t exist without Los Alamos. The sailors, airmen, technicians, security personnel, and others who are responsible for the nation’s nuclear weapons “recognize that they couldn’t do what they do without the work you do every day,” he said. “We stand on your shoulders.”

He told the audience that, as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he must be able to tell the president with confidence that the nation’s nuclear weapons deterrent will perform as expected if ever required. “That confidence comes from meeting you first hand,” he said. 

In closing, he said the nation will maintain a technical advantage over its adversaries because of the cutting-edge technology that comes from the bright minds at Los Alamos. “I stand here representing two million uniformed personnel in the Department of Defense who know how important you are,” he said. “We are keenly aware that the work you do gives us the confidence to say if we are ever threatened, we can respond.” 

Two men standing outdoors shaking hands.

General Paul Selva arrives at Los Alamos.

These sentiments were echoed on May 23, when General John Hyten, commander of U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM), spoke to Laboratory employees about how critical the work of Los Alamos National Laboratory is to the security of the nation, specifically its role in ensuring the safety, reliability, and effectiveness of the nuclear stockpile. “What you do here is the most important work in the country,” he said. “Deterrence starts and ends with nuclear weapons.” 

General Hyten also stressed the importance of giving scientists and engineers in the nation’s nuclear weapons laboratories more freedom to do their work so the nation can be faster and more agile in response to threats. Additionally, he made clear that the Laboratory and STRATCOM must work together as partners to achieve the nation’s defense priorities. “We are partners in the nuclear enterprise of the United States,” he said. “My command is nothing without you.”