Global Lightning 20: USSTRATCOM supports fellow combatant commands through battle staff-focused exercise from new C2F

By U.S. Strategic Command Public Affairs | Jan. 31, 2020

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. —

United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) effectively executed command and control and battle staff roles, responsibilities, and objectives during Global Lightning 20 (GL 20), which concluded Thursday.

The exercise involved a classified scenario to engage USSTRATCOM nuclear command, control and communications (NC3) in support of geographic combatant commands. Global Lightning 20 was a Globally-Integrated Exercise, linked to the Joint Staff and five other combatant command exercises. The purpose of a GIE is to test how the Department of Defense executes operations in multiple locations and domains (i.e. air, land, sea, space, and cyber) simultaneously.

“Testing our ability to communicate, make decisions, and thwart threats is key to validating strategic deterrence,” said USSTRATCOM commander Adm. Chas Richard. “The American people and our allies can rest assured that our forces are ready, if ever called upon.”

U.S. Strategic Command component units, which execute USSTRATCOM’s missions, also participated. These include the Joint Force Air Component Command (Air Forces Strategic) responsible for bomber and ICBM operations; the Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense (Army Strategic), responsible for detecting and defending against missile attacks; and the Joint Force Maritime Component Command, (Navy Strategic), responsible for ballistic missile submarine operations.

Each component makes up the combat-ready force that enables USSTRATCOM to uphold strategic deterrence and deliver a decisive response, if deterrence fails.

“Our combat-ready force provides the foundation for strategic deterrence,” said Maj Gen. Stephen Davis, USSTRATCOM Director of Global Operations. “Our processes, procedures and capabilities must routinely be tested to ensure they are up to that important task. Global Lightning proved again, USSTRATCOM and our new C2F are ready for any challenge.” 

Notably, this is the first major exercise USSTRATCOM conducted entirely from the Command and Control Facility, or C2F, the command’s newest weapon system that enables it to connect to national leadership, all three legs of the triad, and other platforms key to executing operations.

“The C2F is the first visible sign of how we are modernizing our nuclear force,” said Vice Adm. Dave Kriete, USSTRATCOM deputy commander. “This exercise allowed us to stress various systems and capabilities from the C2F, not only proving it as a premier weapon system for NC3, but also letting our operators around the globe take it for a real test drive.”

Throughout Global Lightning 20, USSTRATCOM continued to fulfill its 24/7 global responsibilities including strategic deterrence, nuclear operations, space operations, joint electromagnetic spectrum operations, global strike, missile defense, and analysis and targeting.    

For more information, contact the USSTRATCOM Public Affairs Office at 402-912-0020 or USSTRATCOMPA@mail.mil or visit www.stratcom.mil.