US Conducts "Nuclear Response" Exercises
May 15, 2014
Global Security Newswire & David Ruppe / Global Security Newswire
US Strategic Command this week is conducting a massive nuclear arms drill designed to "deter and detect strategic attacks" on the United States and allies. The US Strategic Command now has the operational capability for rapidly striking targets around the globe using nuclear or conventional weapons.
US Conducts Nuclear Response Exercises
Global Security Newswire
(May 12, 2014) -- US Strategic Command this week is conducting a massive nuclear arms drill designed to "deter and detect strategic attacks" on the United States and allies.
A Sunday press release announcing the May 12-16 "Global Lightning" exercise [See story below] explicitly noted that the event's timing is "unrelated to real-world events." Observers of ongoing East-West tensions will note, however, that Russia on Thursday conducted its own large-scale nuclear response drill under the supervision of President Vladimir Putin. That exercise was widely promoted in Russian media and included the test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile and submarine-fired ballistic missiles.
"Exercise Global Lightning 14 has been planned for more than a year and is based on a notional scenario," US Strategic Command said. Roughly 10 B-52 heavy bombers and as many as six B-2 bombers are slated to take part in the nuclear deterrence exercise.
Mark Schneider, a former US Defense Department nuclear strategy official, told the Washington Free Beacon that Russia's drill last week seemed aimed at sending a message of "nuclear intimidation" to the United States and NATO over Ukraine. He noted that Moscow typically stages its atomic exercises in the fall.
Meanwhile, Romania on Saturday sought clarification from Russia on its official policy following a tweet from a high-profile Russian minister that warned he might try to enter Romanian air space in a heavy bomber, Reuters reported.
After a plane he was a traveling in was blocked from entering Romanian air space, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin sent out a tweet that stated, "Upon US request, Romania has closed its air space for my plane. Ukraine doesn't allow me to pass through again. Next time I'll fly on board Tu-160." Rogozin, who supervises his country's large weapons industry, is under US and European Union sanctions.
The Romanian foreign ministry requested that Russia specify whether the deputy prime minister's tweet represented "the Russian Federation's official position."
Romania "believes the threat of using a Russian strategic bomber plane by a Russian deputy prime minister is a very grave statement under the current regional context," the ministry said.
US Command Declares Global Strike Capability
David Ruppe / Global Security Newswire
WASHINGTON (Dec. 2, 2005) -- The US Strategic Command announced yesterday it had achieved an operational capability for rapidly striking targets around the globe using nuclear or conventional weapons, after last month testing its capacity for nuclear war against a fictional country believed to represent North Korea (see GSN, Oct. 21).
In a press release yesterday, STRATCOM said a new Joint Functional Component Command for Space and Global Strike on Nov. 18 "met requirements necessary to declare an initial operational capability."
The requirements were met, it said, "following a rigorous test of integrated planning and operational execution capabilities during Exercise Global Lightning."
The annual Global Lightning exercise last month tested US strategic warfare capabilities, including the so-called CONPLAN 8022 mission for a global strike, according to publicly available military documents.
CONPLAN 8022 is "a new strike plan that includes [a] pre-emptive nuclear strike against weapons of mass destruction facilities anywhere in the world," said Hans Kristensen, a consultant for the Natural Resources Defense Council. Kristensen first published the STRATCOM press release on his Web site, nukestrat.com.
Military analyst William Arkin, in a column on the Washington Post Web site in October, wrote that the classified exercise involved the response to a radiological "dirty bomb" attack on Alabama by the fictional country Purple or allied terrorists. "In the exercise, Purple is a Northeast Asian nation thinly veiled as North Korea," according to Arkin.
Maj. Jeff Jones, STRATCOM spokesman, said today that the exercise incorporated various scenarios and added, "Everything is fictional that we put in the exercise."
Global Lightning employed command and control personnel, according to the STRATCOM release.
Global strike attacks could be launched from US long-range bombers, nuclear submarines or land-based ballistic missiles, according to the STRATCOM Web site.
The new command was created Aug. 9 in an attempt to integrate broad elements of US military power into global strike plans and operations.
That, according to an Arkin commentary in the Washington Post in May, could include anything from electronic jamming to penetrating computer networks, to commando operations, to the use of a nuclear earth penetrator. CONPLAN 8022, he wrote, is intended to address two scenarios using such capabilities: preventing a suspected imminent nuclear attack from a small state, and attacking an adversary’s suspected WMD infrastructure.
STRATCOM Commander Gen. James Cartwright said at an opening ceremony that the new command would help the country convey a "new kind of deterrence."
According to the STRATCOM release, "The command's performance during Global Lightning demonstrated preparedness to execute its mission of providing integrated space and global strike capabilities to deter and dissuade aggressors and when directed, defeat adversaries through decisive joint global effects in support of STRATCOM missions."
According to Arkin's article in May, CONPLAN 8022 was completed in 2003, "putting in place for the first time a pre-emptive and offensive strike capability against Iran and North Korea."
STRATCOM's readiness for global strike was certified to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and President George W. Bush in January 2004, Arkin reported.
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