Staff Sgt. Yamil Ramirez-Lopez, a weapons operator with the 49th Missile Defense Battalion, Alaska Army National Guard, works in the Fire Direction Center at Fort Greely, Alaska. Soldiers from the 49th Missile Defense Battalion participated in Global Lightning 21, March 8-12, 2021. Team members of U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command and Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense supported U.S. Strategic Command and U.S. Space Command during the Global Lightning 21 annual battle staff exercise designed to train Department of Defense forces and assess joint operational readiness across mission areas. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Zach Sheely)
Staff Sgt. Yamil Ramirez-Lopez, a weapons operator with the 49th Missile Defense Battalion, Alaska Army National Guard, works in the Fire Direction Center at Fort Greely, Alaska. Soldiers from the 49th Missile Defense Battalion participated in Global Lightning 21, March 8-12, 2021. Team members of U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command and Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense supported U.S. Strategic Command and U.S. Space Command during the Global Lightning 21 annual battle staff exercise designed to train Department of Defense forces and assess joint operational readiness across mission areas. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Zach Sheely) (Photo Credit: Jason Cutshaw) VIEW ORIGINAL

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Alabama –The U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command and the Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense worked with two of America’s combatant commands to defend the high ground during an annual exercise this week designed to train Department of Defense forces and assess joint operational readiness across mission areas.

Both USASMDC and JFCC IMD, through participating in Global Lightning, a tier-1 battle staff exercise supporting U.S. Strategic Command and U.S. Space Command, March 8-12, gained valuable insight into how they are prepared for potential conflict with adversaries, said Lt. Gen. Daniel L. Karbler, who leads both organizations.

“Global Lighting provides SMDC and JFCC IMD with an opportunity to highlight their global space and missile defense capabilities as active participants in this annual exercise,” Karbler said. “At no other time in my 32-plus years in the Army have I seen these two commands so relevant to the complex challenges we face today and tomorrow.”

Global Lightning is a training opportunity to exercise USSTRATCOM and USSPACECOM mission areas to enhance readiness and creates the conditions for effective strategic deterrence against a variety of threats. This year’s exercise provided training opportunities for the USASMDC and JFCC IMD staffs to integrate and synchronize efforts with U.S. European Command, USSTRATCOM and USSPACECOM.

“Balancing the needs of multiple combatant commands during a global exercise is both challenging and essential,” Karbler said. “Exercises like Global Lighting provide an opportunity for SMDC, as the Army Service Component Command supporting USSTRATCOM and USSPACECOM, and JFCC IMD to simultaneously support the mission requirements of multiple combatant commands in a challenging operational environment.”

Karbler said Global Lightning provided a platform for various warfighting organizations to synergize their efforts in support of joint all-domain operations across several combatant commands. It also provided an opportunity for SMDC to explore how the command could help inform decisions supporting the conduct of Army information advantage activities as a foundational component of Multi-Domain Operations.

“USASMDC and JFCC IMD are uniquely organized to conduct joint, global operations for space and missile defense,” Karbler said. “Our participation allows us to demonstrate what SMDC, and by extension the Army, contribute to missile defense and space operations at the tactical, strategic and operational levels, all of which contribute to leveraging information that provides advantage during competition, crises, conflict and change.”

He said the exercise is designed to better prepare the team to respond rapidly, speeding assets to the frontlines with the tactical and operational support they need to win on multi-domain battlefields.

“Our people are crucial to mission success,” Karbler said. “I’m especially proud of the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Guardians and civilians who supported the real-world exercise under the constraints of COVID-19. During Global Lighting, our team of professionals successfully executed all mission requirements, allowing the combatant commands to achieve exercise objectives.”