Simon Osborne11:12, Tue, Oct 30, 2018
SIMMERING international tensions have been ramped up with the launch of the US military’s Global Thunder 2019 command and control exercise.
Operation Rising Thunder 2018: USA and Japan collaborate
The annual training drills are designed to assess all US Stategic Command mission areas with a specific focus on the West’s nuclear readiness to “curb, locate and, if necessary, avert strategic attacks on the US and its allies”.
Forces personnel from the UK, Australia, Canada, Denmark and South Korea are also taking part in this year’s war games.
US Strategic Command chief General John E. Hyten said: “For Global Thunder 2019, the headquarters staff, USSTRATCOM components and subordinate units are participating in this exercise to test readiness and ensure a safe, secure, ready and reliable strategic deterrent force.
Deterrence in the 21st century has to be a global approach and it must involve our allies and partners
General John E. Hyten
He continued: “Exercises like these integrate our unique capabilities across the joint force, in order to deter strategic threats and defend the nation.
“Our forces must be ready and prepared to execute orders globally wherever and whenever needed.”
Gen Hyten said personnel from allied forces integrate into senior leadership teams and work across a broad spectrum of areas, offering legal, public affairs and policy support as well as targeting and information operations insight.
He said: “Deterrence in the 21st century has to be a global approach and it must involve our allies and partners.
A US soldier taking part in nuclear readiness drills (Image: USSTRATCOM)
US warplanes on manoeuvres (Image: GETTY)
“This is why Global Thunder is a multinational exercise that operates on a global scale.
“Large-scale exercises like Global Thunder involve extensive planning and coordination to provide unique training for assigned units and our allies.”
US Strategic Command is responsible for strategic deterrence, nuclear operations, space operations, joint electromagnetic spectrum operations, global strike, missile defence and analysis and targeting.
Global Thunder 2019 are the first military manoeuvres since the US announced it was pulling out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia – an agreement dating from the Cold War era.
The decision to withdraw from the treaty sparked fears of fresh conflict between the two old foes.
Andrei Belousov, deputy head of the Department of Nonproliferation and Arms Control at the Russian Foreign Ministry, declared Moscow would defend its territorial integrity and principles in response to US aggression.
He said: “Here recently at the meeting, the United States said that Russia is preparing for war. Yes, Russia is preparing for war, I have confirmed it.
“We are preparing to defend our homeland, our territorial integrity, our principles, our values, our people – we are preparing for such a war.”