"Russia continues to use heavy bombers, surface vessels, and submarines to demonstrate its ability to launch advanced, long-range, conventionally-armed cruise missiles," Robinson stated. "These emerging capabilities constitute a real challenge to our air defense architecture, and NORAD faces an increased risk to our ability to defend the United States and Canada against Russian cruise missile threats."
At the same time, Robinson noted she was confident in the layered approach provided by US and NORAD's systems for cruise missile defense.
In 2016, Russian heavy bomber activity near North America declined sharply, Robinson recalled.
However, she claimed that Russia is cycling its bombers through a modernization program, which allows Moscow to carry an advanced family of cruise missiles that can threaten the United States and Canada.