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U.S. Strategic Command Announces 2023 Gen. Larry D. Welch Deterrence Writing Award Winners

  • Published
  • By U.S. Strategic Command Public Affairs
  • U.S. Strategic Command

U.S. Strategic Command announced The 2023 Gen. Larry D. Welch Writing Awards winners today, highlighting exceptional research and analysis in deterrence.

United States Strategic Command sponsors the competition, named after former Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force Gen. Larry D. Welch, which recognizes a senior and junior researcher whose paper demonstrates outstanding understanding and innovative ideas on deterrence.

“This competition honors the legacy of a key strategic thinker in nuclear deterrence and national defense,” said Gen. Anthony Cotton, commander of U.S. Strategic Command. “The winners should be rightly proud of their accomplishments and contributions to deterrence theory.”

Winners were selected from a pool of students, distinguished scholars, military professionals, and experts worldwide.

Senior Division Winner: Ms. Annika Kastetter, a participant from the Senior Division, impressed the judges with her paper titled "Chinese War Control and U.S. Approaches to Deterrence." Kastetter delved into the complex challenges posed by China's war control concept and emphasized the need for tailored deterrence strategies that acknowledge associated risks. Her meticulous analysis examined the factors influencing Chinese leaders' belief in their ability to exercise control across the spectrum of conflict, providing crucial insights for deterring major crises or armed conflicts with China.

Junior Division Winner: Mr. Brandon Cortino, representing the Junior Division, captured the judges' attention with his paper titled "Russian Thought, Global Challenges: A Dive into Russian Perspectives of Strategic Stability." Cortino's comprehensive research, conducted using Russian-language sources, explored strategic stability from the Russian lens and sought a cooperative middle ground to elevate the strategic threshold. By comparing Russian and English linguistic terminology and analyzing the disparities in deterrence understanding between the two nations, Cortino's work offered valuable recommendations grounded in historical conditions leading to the present political environment.

“As a nation we are facing an ever-changing global environment. This award celebrates the value of innovative and strategic thinking in sustaining effective nuclear deterrence. The members of the Strategic Command Consultation Committee are honored to be part of this award.” said Dana Bradford, Chairman of the Strategic Command Consultation Committee, which provides an honorarium to the winners.

Kastetter and Cortino have the opportunity to attend the upcoming 2023 U.S. Strategic Command Deterrence Symposium scheduled for August 16-17, at the CHI Health Center in Omaha, Nebraska. This event will gather leading experts, policymakers, and military personnel to discuss emerging challenges in deterrence and exchange ideas on enhancing national security strategies.

The Gen. Larry D. Welch Writing Awards honor these outstanding individuals' intellectual achievements and contribute to advancing deterrence theory and strategic studies. The winners' analyses will shape discussions and help inform future approaches to global security challenges.

USSTRATCOM has global responsibilities assigned through the Unified Command Plan that include strategic deterrence, nuclear operations, joint electromagnetic spectrum operations, global strike, and analysis and targeting.

For more information on the 2023 United States Strategic Command Deterrence Symposium visit