Global Thunder: Bombers practice for nuclear war


U.S. Strategic Command forces, including bombers such as the B-52 Stratofortress, on Tuesday began the annual nuclear command and control exercise known as Global Thunder.

STRATCOM, in a Monday news release, said Global Thunder 21 provides “realistic training activities against simulated targets” to allow forces to train in all mission areas, but particularly focusing on nuclear readiness.

It also involves personnel from the U.K. and Australia, who became part of senior leadership teams and provide experience on subjects including policy support, deterrence and information operations.

Portions of the exercise are taking place at multiple locations, including STRATCOM’s headquarters at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri and Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana.

Senior Airman Enrique Cabrera, 509th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron weapons load crew member, prepares a training munition in support of Exercise Global Thunder 21 at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, Oct. 20. (Staff Sgt. Dylan Nuckolls/Air Force)

“This exercise employs global operations in coordination with other combatant commands, services, appropriate U.S. government agencies, and allies to deter, detect and, if necessary, defeat strategic attacks against the United States and its allies,” STRATCOM said in the release.


Stephen Losey covers leadership and personnel issues as the senior reporter for Air Force Times. He comes from an Air Force family, and his investigative reports have won awards from the Society of Professional Journalists. He has traveled to the Middle East to cover Air Force operations against the Islamic State.

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