Hyten, who has previously called Russia the "most significant threat" to the U.S., emphasized the need for the U.S. to add another type of nuclear weapon to its arsenal.
"I strongly agree with the need for a low-yield nuclear weapon," he said of the Pentagon's request for a low-yield warhead for submarine-launched ballistic missiles. "That capability is a deterrence weapon to respond to the threat that Russia, in particular, is portraying. President [Vladimir] Putin announced as far back as April of 2000 that the Russian doctrine will be to use a low-yield nuclear weapon on the battlefield."
Hyten's comments came ahead of President Donald Trump's announcement that he plans to "get together in the not-too-distant future" with Putin in order to discuss the international arms race.
Earlier this month, during a two-hour state-of-the-nation speech, Putin announced a slew of new nuclear weapons as well as a hypersonic missile.
Putin's speech cited other nations' actions as a key factor in supercharging Russia's arsenal.
"I want to tell all those who have fueled the arms race over the last 15 years, sought to win unilateral advantages over Russia, introduced unlawful sanctions aimed to contain our country's development: All that you wanted to impede with your policies have already happened," Putin said. "You have failed to contain Russia."
The intercontinental hypersonic missile, dubbed Avangard, is capable of reaching targets at 20 times the speed of sound and will strike "like a fireball," Putin said.