US Military to Conduct Large-Scale Drills to Counter 'Strategic Threats'

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Air National Guard soldiers monitor computer screens - Sputnik International
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A massive exercise involving many, if not all, of nine US combatant commands will target an array of strategic threats facing the United States and its allies, the Department of Defense’s US Strategic Command (STRATCOM) announced in a press release on Friday.

Flags fly at half mast at NATO headquarters in Brussels, March 23, 2016. - Sputnik International
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WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – Beginning Saturday, the drill entitled "Global Lightning 2016" will integrate "nearly every conceivable strategic threat to our nation to ensure the resilience, redundancy and survivability of our strategic deterrent forces, while stressing the STRATCOM capabilities provided to geographic combatant commanders in a crisis or contingency," the release noted.

While the release did not name specific threats, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter lists five targets for US military deterrence in nearly every public speech. They are: Russia, China, North Korea, Iran and Islamist-inspired terrorist attacks.

"To deter strategic threats and defend the nation, our forces must be ready and prepared to execute all assigned missions and provide our unique capabilities to the joint and combined force," STRATCOM Commander Admiral Cecil D. Haney said in the release.

STRATCOM, one of nine commands that direct US military operations worldwide, is in charge of overall strategic deterrence, space operations, cyberspace operations, joint electronic warfare, missile defense, intelligence, and combating weapons of mass destruction, the release explained.

Most of the eight remaining commands are specific to geographic regions such as the Americas, Africa, Europe and Asia. For example, US Central Command (CENTCOM) is responsible for the battle against terrorist groups in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

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