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News | April 2, 2021

Global Lightning exercise tests multi-domain space capabilities

By U.S. Space Command Public Affairs Office

More than 100 U.S. Space Command personnel and 900 total participants took part in Global Lightning 2021 on March 8-12, which integrated space capabilities into a multi-domain exercise.

Global Lightning is an annual Department of Defense exercise designed to train joint and combined forces to assess operational readiness in creating conditions for effective deterrence against a variety of threats. This year’s simulated conflict scenario involved three combatant commands: USSPACECOM, U.S. Strategic Command and U.S. European Command.

“Space is critical to any fight,” U.S. Army Gen. James Dickinson, USSPACECOM commander, said. “This exercise gave us a good look out how we, as combatant commands, are coordinating, cooperating and executing decisive military actions across multiple domains.”

Throughout the five-day exercise, USSPACECOM headquarters staff and its components integrated and synchronized interoperability efforts with USSTRATCOM, USEUCOM, allies and partners.

“We train how we fight,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Frank Kincaid, deputy director of USSPACECOM’s Joint Space Operations Forces Development Directorate. “We are giving our joint warfighters the capability to command and control joint space forces, integrating a whole-of-government approach and sharing decision quality information to the last tactical mile.”

The Australian Defence Force, the Canadian Defence Force and UK Ministry of Defence all had direct participation in Global Lightning 21. 

“Every opportunity to train with our allies and partners improves our military capabilities,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Devin Pepper, deputy director of USSPACECOM’s Strategy, Plans and Policy Directorate. “On an increasing scale, our allies make our collective security efforts in space more effective.”

Space — like air, land, sea and cyber — is a unique environment. The scope and complexity of the threats to space capabilities continues the need to train space warriors to outthink and outmaneuver.

“Our goal is to deter a conflict in space, but we need to be prepared to win, if defense is necessary,” Dickinson said. “And this is why we continue to test our space warfighters, allowing them to enhance their skillsets in ensuring a safe, secure, stable and sustainable space domain.”