OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. â€“ U.S. Strategic Command, in coordination with other combatant commands, services and appropriate U.S. government agencies concluded Exercise GLOBAL THUNDER 16, Nov. 8.
GLOBAL THUNDER, which began Nov. 2, is an annual command and control exercise designed to train Department of Defense forces, assess joint operational readiness and validate the command’s ability to identify and mitigate attacks across all of USSTRATCOM’s mission areas, with a specific focus on cyber, space, missile defense, and nuclear readiness.
Planning for GLOBAL THUNDER 16, an exercise based on a notional scenario with fictitious adversaries, has been underway for more than a year.
“The security environment is increasingly complex and dynamic. Exercises such as GLOBAL THUNDER hone USSTRATCOM’s ability to anticipate change and confront uncertainty with agility and innovation,” said Adm. Cecil D. Haney, U.S. Strategic Command commander. “The scope and magnitude of the exercise and the training it provides will ensure that we are prepared to meet future threats whether they be nuclear, cyber or space related.
“We must continue to deter our adversaries and assure our allies. USSTRATCOM does that by maintaining America’s nuclear deterrentâ€”a synthesis of dedicated sensors, assured command and control, the triad of delivery systems, nuclear weapons, enabling infrastructure, trained ready people, and treaties and non-proliferation activities,” Haney said.
The exercise was conducted in coordination with North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command’s Exercise VIGILANT SHIELD 16, which aims to train participants in homeland defense processes.
“We operate in an interdependent world with a dynamic global security environment,” Haney said. “It is paramount that we enhance relationships and synchronize capabilities between the combatant commands and our Allies and partners.”
GLOBAL THUNDER 16 also provided opportunities for strengthening existing international partnership as both Canadian and United Kingdom officers integrated and embedded into operations and planning cells at various locations including USSTRATCOM headquarters at Omaha, Nebraska, and the Joint Functional Component Command for Space at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.
"The scope and magnitude of our integration with some of our key allies during Global Thunder is another area we have made a focused priority,” said Maj. Gen. Clint Crosier, USSTRATCOM director of plans and programs. “We have the largest contingent of military partners from the United Kingdom that integrated into our headquarters planning activities than we have ever had before.”
“The U.K.’s contribution to USSTRATCOM’s planning and operations demonstrates the strength of our alliances.Â It shows our commitment to deterring threats to our collective security and better postures us to plan and operate in an integrated, coalition environment," said Rear Adm. Mark Beverstock, Nuclear and Space Advisor, Assistant Chief of U.K. Defence Staff, who participated in GLOBAL THUNDER with a contingent of 13 U.K. personnel. USSTRATCOM also benefits from a permanent staff of three U.K. officers assigned at the headquarters.
USSTRATCOM’s Joint Functional Component Command for Space also expanded its international cooperation for the exercise as Canadian Armed Forces Brig. Gen. Michel LalumiÃ¨re, Director General Space, deployed to the Joint Space Operations Center to augment the senior leadership team.
“Just as with NORAD/NORTHCOM and numerous other defense efforts, the Canadian military is integrated with our U.S. partners in the collective effort of preserving the safety, security and stability of the space domain,” LalumiÃ¨re said.Â “Exercises such as these provide an exquisite opportunity to explore, analyze and validate how we pull the sum of our capabilities and expertise to deliver synergized effects for the domain.”
Nearly every component, task force, unit, command post and bomb wing associated with USSTRATCOM, from Air Force Global Strike and Space commands to the individual base-level units, participated in the training event.
“As the commander of U.S. Strategic Command, I have been charged with providing and maintaining a credible and ready 21st Century strategic deterrent and assurance capability to ultimately provide the President of the United States with flexible and responsive options with adequate decision space, should deterrence fail,” Admiral Haney said. “The stellar work accomplished by the thousands of Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and dedicated civilians and our many partners during GLOBAL THUNDER 16 underscores my confidence in telling the President, ‘We are ready 24/7,’” he said.
For more information, contact the USSTRATCOM Public Affairs Office at 402-294-4130 or PA@stratcom.mil or visit www.stratcom.mil. To download high-resolution versions of photos and for more high-resolution photos from GLOBAL THUNDER 16, please visit our Flickr page: www.flickr.com/photos/usstratcom/albums/72157658690675504.