OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. - U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM), in coordination with other services, appropriate U.S. government agencies and international allies, concluded Exercise GLOBAL LIGHTNING 16, April 28.
The command and control exercise, which began April 23, is conducted annually to train Department of Defense (DoD) forces, assess joint operational readiness and validate the command""s ability to identify and mitigate attacks across all of USSTRATCOM""s mission areas.
The notional scenario for GLOBAL LIGHTNING 2016 drove integrated planning and training for a number of strategic threats to the nation, and was coordinated for more than a year. The exercise, and those previously conducted, ensure the resilience, redundancy and survivability of U.S. strategic deterrent forces, stressing the USSTRATCOM capabilities provided to geographic combatant commanders during a crisis or contingency.
"The security environment is increasingly complex and dynamic," said U.S. Navy Adm. Cecil D. Haney, USSTRATCOM commander. "Exercises such as GLOBAL LIGHTNING hone USSTRATCOM""s ability to anticipate change and confront uncertainty with agility and innovation. 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."
GLOBAL LIGHTNING 16 also provided opportunities for strengthening existing international partnerships with the United Kingdom (U.K.) and other ally nations. U.K. Royal Navy Commodore John MacDonald, U.K. Ministry of Defence head of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear policy, who visited USSTRATCOM Headquarters to participate in the exercise, noted the importance of collaboration and a whole of government approach to solving regional and global security challenges.
"The U.K., U.S. and our international allies share a mutual commitment to deterring and, if necessary, defeating threats to our collective security," MacDonald said. "Collaborative training exercises like GLOBAL LIGHTNING ensure that all nations involved are able to better posture, plan and operate in an integrated coalition environment."
Haney agreed, adding that USSTRATCOM benefits from a number of partner nation liaison officers, including three from the U.K., who are permanently assigned to the command""s headquarters on Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska.
"To deter strategic threats and defend the nation, our forces must be ready to execute all assigned missions and provide our unique capabilities to the joint and combined force," Haney said. "Because we operate in an interdependent world with a dynamic global security environment, it is paramount that we enhance relationships and synchronize capabilities between the combatant commands and our allies and partners. Having liaison officers from partner nations like the U.K. assigned here at USSTRATCOM Headquarters ensures a better synchronization of our combined efforts as we work toward mutual goals.
"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," Haney added. "The stellar work accomplished by the thousands of Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and dedicated civilians and our many partners during GLOBAL LIGHTNING 16 underscores my confidence in telling the President, 'We are ready 24/7.'"