Defense

April 22, 2016
 

AF Global Strike Command practices constant vigilance

Joe Thomas
Barksdale AFB, La.

B-52H Stratofortresses taxi on the runway during exercise Constant Vigilance at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., April 17, 2016. Air Force Global Strike Command conducts training operations and exercises on a regular basis to ensure U.S. forces are ready to perform nuclear deterrence operations and long-range strike missions if and when called upon to do so.

Air Force Global Strike Command participated April 8-17 in Constant Vigilance, an annual exercise that tests its ability to conduct both conventional and nuclear operations.

“The primary focus of the exercise is the generation of our bomber and (intercontinental ballistic missile) forces, but it has evolved to increase the participation of the entire AFGSC team,” said Maj. Ryan Graves, the chief of AFGSC exercises. “As the AFGSC mission continues to expand, our exercise team will continue developing challenging scenarios to ensure our forces our ready and able to meet the growing threat environment.”
Exercise elements like cyber attacks and force protection scenarios tested base-level AFGSC headquarters responses.

A UH-1N Huey, assigned to the 37th Helicopter Squadron, prepares to land and drop off 790th Missile Security Forces Squadron Tactical Response Force Airmen on April 14, 2016, outside a launch facility of a missile complex on F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo. The 37th HS supports the mission of the 90th Missile Wing by providing aerial surveillance and emergency deployments of security response forces throughout the base and missile field.

Although the command hosts the exercise annually, new this year was the incorporation of the 7th and 28th Bomb Wings’ B-1B Lancers and the 377th Air Base Wing at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M.

Overall, Constant Vigilance tested the command’s ability to respond to conventional and nuclear operations as well as its ability to protect itself against small ground attacks against its bases. The event is only one of several annual exercises that AFGSC participates in to include U.S. Strategic Command’s Global Lightning and Global Thunder.

A B-1B Lancer takes off April 11, 2016, from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, during exercise Constant Vigilance 16. Constant Vigilance is an annual Air Force Global Strike Command training exercise that tests the readiness of all Airmen and aircraft within the command.

“We wanted to test the command’s ability to communicate with all of its components and stress those assets in an effort to make the scenario as realistic as possible,” said Navy Lt. Mitch Normand, the executive chief of AFGSC exercises. “Such an effort forces everyone to focus on the bigger picture rather than remain ‘stove-piped’ in their individual areas. These exercises not only allow us to train how we fight, they remind us that we always have to maintain a ‘one-team’ mindset.”
 

Tech. Sgt. Ross Perry, the 7th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron NCO in charge of electronic warfare , left, and Airman 1st Class Terrance Boykins, a 7th AMXS crew chief, work on a B-1B Lancer on April 9, 2016, at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. Perry and Boykins participated in exercise Constant Vigilance 16, which tests the Air Force Global Strike Command’s ability to respond quickly and effectively in a real-world situation.




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