JFCC Space concludes Exercise Global Lightning 17

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The Joint Functional Component Command for Space (JFCC Space) concluded its participation in Exercise Global Lightning 17, an annual command and control exercise, Feb. 16.

U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM), in coordination with other combatant commands, appropriate U.S. government agencies and international allies, conducted the annual command and control exercise which began Feb. 7 and enabled Department of Defense (DoD) forces to train with partners and allies, assess joint operational readiness and validate the command’s ability to identify and mitigate attacks across all USSTRATCOM mission areas.

The notional scenario for Global Lightning 2017 incorporated a variety of strategic threats across all USSTRATCOM mission areas and was coordinated for more than a year. The exercise is designed to ensure the resilience, redundancy and survivability of U.S. strategic deterrent forces, stressing the USSTRATCOM capabilities that are provided to geographic combatant commanders during a crisis or contingency.

"We operate in a complicated world with a myriad of threats. We must, therefore, effectively leverage all our capabilities with those of our allies and integrate effectively with the other combatant commands," said U.S. Air Force Gen. John E. Hyten, commander of USSTRATCOM. “Exercises such as Global Lightning provide our combined forces an opportunity to train as we would fight in a real-world situation.”

For JFCC Space, Global Lightning 17 provided opportunities to exercise its ability to deliver synchronized space effects through a contested, degraded and operationally limited environment.

“Consistent with our National Space Policy, we stand ready to deter interference or attack, protect and defend our space systems and contribute to the defense of allied systems, and, if necessary, defeat efforts to deny, disrupt or degrade our access to the vital space capabilities upon which the entire world relies," said U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. David Buck, JFCC Space commander.

Building on the success of previous exercises, JFCC Space once again supported an embedded senior officer from an allied nation, hosting United Kingdom (U.K.) Royal Air Force Air Commodore Alan Gillespie, Battlespace Management Force commander, during exercise play.

"My participation in Exercise GL17 from within JFCC Space has presented an excellent opportunity to improve our nations' ability to cooperate in the space domain,” Gillespie said. “It is imperative that the allies and partners within the CSpO [Combined Space Operations] initiative are able to share situational awareness and threat information to assure uninterrupted access to the space-based capabilities that are fundamental to our nation's day-to-day lives and military capabilities. The U.K. remains fully committed to supporting this initiative and will continue to pursue innovative and pragmatic solutions to enhance the effectiveness of our partnership."

JFCC Space also used Global Lightning as an opportunity to continue to hone the role of the Commercial Integration Cell (CIC). Operating through six Cooperative Research and Development Agreements under the oversight of the Air Force Research Laboratory, the CIC is a method of pursuing greater cooperation and synergy in the space environment by integrating liaison personnel from the commercial space operator sector within the Joint Space Operations Center.

“As a fully embedded mission partner the CIC greatly enhances our capabilities and improves the speed and efficacy of our cooperative efforts across industry,” said Buck.

After another Global series exercise came to a successful conclusion, Buck said, “I continue to be proud of the effort put forth by the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, DoD civilians and contractors who comprise this command, as well as our partners across the U.S. government and our allies, as we all work toward the common goal of maintaining assured access to the space capabilities which enable our way of war and provide the foundation for our way of life.”

JFCC Space is a component of USSTRATCOM and is responsible for executing continuous, integrated space operations to deliver theater and global effects in support of national and combatant commander objectives. JFCC Space coordinates space operational-level planning, integration, and coordination to ensure unity of effort in support of military and national security operations, and support to civil authorities.