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Global Strike forces participate in USSTRATCOM command, control exercise

  • Published
  • U.S. Strategic Command Public Affairs
U.S. Strategic Command, in coordination with other combatant commands, services and appropriate U.S. government agencies concluded Exercise GLOBAL THUNDER 15 today.

GLOBAL THUNDER 15 is a command and control exercise designed to train Department of Defense forces and assess joint operational readiness across all of USSTRATCOM's mission areas with a specific focus on nuclear readiness.

"We operate in an incredibly challenging and complex global environment that constantly requires us to hone and refine the command's skills so we can effectively and boldly respond to a full spectrum of crises," Adm. Cecil D. Haney, Commander, U.S. Strategic Command said.

GLOBAL THUNDER 15 was conducted in coordination with North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command's Exercise VIGILANT SHIELD 15, and Canadian Joint Operations Command's Exercise DETERMINED DRAGON 14, which aim to train participants, including our Canadian Allies, in homeland defense processes.

An example of one of the innovative approaches USSTRATCOM used to leverage the exercise for training effectiveness was the contribution of B-52 Stratofortresses, to a VIGILANT SHIELD 15 training event. The bombers had completed their Global Thunder mission and were on their return leg when they conducted training flights with NORAD fighters out of Goose Bay, Canada.

"It is an interdependent world where we are operating in a dynamic global security environment," Haney said. "It is paramount we practice and enhance relationships now, in peacetime, between the combatant commands and our Allies and partners, so everyone understands what capabilities U.S. Strategic Command brings to the equation."

While the exercise was based on a notional scenario with fictitious adversaries, it realistically allowed USSTRATCOM to exercise as it would fight, according to Mr. Patrick McVay, the command's director of joint training exercises.

"Though I won't get into specific details, the scenario integrated, in just eight days, nearly every conceivable strategic threat to our nation and called upon all the USSTRATCOM capabilities that would be provided to geographic combatant commanders in a real-world crisis: space, cyber, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, global strike, and ballistic missile defense capabilities, among them," McVay said.

According to McVay, this virtual tsunami of various threats is created to closely replicate what would most likely happen in a real-world conflict involving USSTRATCOM forces and capabilities.

"We'd never conduct our mission in a vacuum," he said. "It is never going to be just nuclear. There will be conflict in space and the cyber arena, and we are going to have to use all our capabilities in concert with other military and government organizations."

Nearly every component, task force, unit, command post and bomb wing associated with USSTRATCOM, from Air Force Global Strike Command to the Joint Space Operations Center, participated in the training event.

"As the commander of U.S. Strategic Command, I have been charged with providing and maintaining a credible and responsive 21st Century strategic deterrent to ultimately provide the President of the United States with flexible options with adequate decision space, and should deterrence fail, to be responsive," Admiral Haney said. "The stellar work accomplished by the thousands of Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and dedicated civilians during GLOBAL THUNDER 15 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 or visit To download high-resolution versions of photos and for more high-resolution photos from GLOBAL THUNDER 15, please visit our Flickr page.