U.S. Command Declares Global Strike
by David Ruppe
Global Security Newswire, 12/2/05
The U.S. Strategic Command announced yesterday
it had achieved an operational capability for rapidly striking
targets around the globe using nuclear or conventional weapons,
after last month testing its capacity for nuclear war against
a fictional country believed to represent North Korea (see GSN,
In a press release yesterday, STRATCOM
said a new Joint Functional Component Command for Space and Global
Strike on Nov. 18 "met requirements necessary to declare
an initial operational capability."
The requirements were met, it said, "following
a rigorous test of integrated planning and operational execution
capabilities during Exercise Global Lightning."
The annual Global Lightning exercise last
month tested U.S. strategic warfare capabilities, including the
so-called CONPLAN 8022 mission for a global strike, according
to publicly available military documents.
CONPLAN 8022 is "a new strike plan
that includes [a] pre-emptive nuclear strike against weapons of
mass destruction facilities anywhere in the world," said
Hans Kristensen, a consultant for the Natural Resources Defense
Council. Kristensen first published the STRATCOM press release
on his Web site, nukestrat.com.
Military analyst William Arkin, in a column
on the Washington Post Web site in October, wrote that the classified
exercise involved the response to a radiological "dirty bomb"
attack on Alabama by the fictional country Purple or allied terrorists.
"In the exercise, Purple is a Northeast Asian nation thinly
veiled as North Korea," according to Arkin.
Maj. Jeff Jones, STRATCOM spokesman, said
today that the exercise incorporated various scenarios and added,
"Everything is fictional that we put in the exercise."
Global Lightning employed command and
control personnel, according to the STRATCOM release.
Global strike attacks could be launched
from U.S. long-range bombers, nuclear submarines or land-based
ballistic missiles, according to the STRATCOM Web site.
The new command was created Aug. 9 in
an attempt to integrate broad elements of U.S. military power
into global strike plans and operations.
That, according to an Arkin commentary
in the Washington Post in May, could include anything from electronic
jamming to penetrating computer networks, to commando operations,
to the use of a nuclear earth penetrator. CONPLAN 8022, he wrote,
is intended to address two scenarios using such capabilities:
preventing a suspected imminent nuclear attack from a small state,
and attacking an adversary's suspected WMD infrastructure.
STRATCOM Commander Gen. James Cartwright
said at an opening ceremony that the new command would help the
country convey a "new kind of deterrence."
According to the STRATCOM release, "The
command's performance during Global Lightning demonstrated preparedness
to execute its mission of providing integrated space and global
strike capabilities to deter and dissuade aggressors and when
directed, defeat adversaries through decisive joint global effects
in support of STRATCOM missions."
According to Arkin's article in May, CONPLAN
8022 was completed in 2003, "putting in place for the first
time a pre-emptive and offensive strike capability against Iran
and North Korea."
STRATCOM's readiness for global strike
was certified to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and President
George W. Bush in January 2004, Arkin reported.
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