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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Global Strike Command tests nuclear readiness without skipping a beat

by Crystal Jordan
Air Force Global Strike Command Public Affairs

6/14/2011 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. (AFNS) -- Airmen with Global Strike Command recently completed the first command-wide nuclear operational readiness exercise, called Constant Vigilance, without taking a break from scheduled wing-level activities, exercises and training.

"This operation energized every part of the command," said Maj. Scott Ryan, the deputy chief for the Air Force Exercise Operations branch at Global Strike Command headquarters. "It allowed our units to train like they fight."

"Not stopping day-to-day ops allows our units more time to train," Major Ryan said. "By taking this challenge on, wings completed unit-level exercise requirements while conducting the command-wide nuclear operational readiness exercise."

"Nuclear operational readiness exercises provide unit commanders the opportunity to demonstrate and assess their nuclear combat capability," said Robert Thomson, the chief of the exercises division at Global Strike Command headquarters.

Running the exercise while continuing regular operations across the command in April also let the wings continue to keep their scheduled flying operations on track, he said.

Beyond practicing nuclear operations, the command's intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance directorate also developed force protection scenarios, or "danger scenarios," to challenge wing response levels and actions, he said.

Exercise scenarios ranged from simulating an active-shooter threat to a hazardous material spill on base.

All Air Force Global Strike Command units participated in the ten-day exercise and met the challenges the command set for them, Mr. Thomson said.

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