Barksdale Airmen watch as B-52H Stratofortress strategic bombers take-off May 19, 2014, during a Constant Vigilance minimum interval takeoff exercise at Barksdale Air Force Base, La. MITOs are used to get the aircraft off the ground as quickly as possible in crisis, contingency, and wartime operations. (U.S. Air Force illustration/Senior Airman Joseph A. Pagán Jr.)
BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. (AFNS) --
The Air Force Global Strike Command validated the command's ability to support its conventional and nuclear missions while simultaneously participating in two exercises May 12-20.
As a service component to U.S. Strategic Command, AFGSC participated in Global Lightning May 12-16. Working in coordination with other combatant commands, services and appropriate U.S. government agencies, Global Lightning exercised U.S. Strategic Command's ability to deter and detect strategic attacks against the U.S. and its allies.
"Global Lightning 14 provided an invaluable opportunity to test and validate command and control procedures for U.S. Strategic Command and its subordinate units," said Adm. Cecil Haney, commander, U.S. Strategic Command. "The units demonstrated their preparedness and ability to use strategic capabilities to deter, dissuade and defeat current and future threats to the U.S. and our allies."
As a force provider to U.S. Strategic Command, AFGSC is directly responsible for two task forces, strategic bombers, and land-based ICBM forces. During Constant Vigilance, held May 12-20, the command's headquarters staff, two numbered air forces, six wings and air operations center exercised operational and tactical-level mission activities and procedures necessary to provide U.S. strategic military capabilities to the President of the United States.
"The Air Force Global Strike Command continuously trains to ensure our forces are ready to perform nuclear deterrence operations and long-range strike missions globally, if and when called upon to do so," said Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson, commander of the Air Force Global Strike Command. "Participating in exercises such as Global Lightning and Constant Vigilance improves our combat readiness and is critical to our ability to respond quickly and effectively to a variety of real-world situations."
Both exercises, in planning for more than a year, were based on a notional scenario and the timing was unrelated to real-world events. Though no unit's real-world alert status changed because of the exercises, strategic forces honed their skills in planning, generating and executing their deterrent mission.
"The men and women involved in the exercise provided exceptional support during a challenging scenario. Our success is measured by our ability to hone our capabilities and prepare for uncertain environments. I'm proud to lead such a focused and innovative team," Haney said. "I can say with full confidence that U.S. Strategic Command remains capable and ready to meet our assigned missions."