AFGSC’s First Wargame Sharpens Strategic Focus

Air Force Global Strike Command recently concluded its first command-sponsored and developed wargame—codenamed “Strategic Vigilance”—at Barksdale AFB, La. The four-day war game was assembled under a directive from US Strategic Command to renew emphasis on nuclear wargaming across the command’s components, as well as Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh’s call to renew focus on nuclear table top exercises to enhance strategic thinking in the Air Force on nuclear strategy. The game was designed to explore AFGSC’s ability to conduct operations across the stages of nuclear conflict, said Maj. Andrew Smith, the chief of war gaming and strategic studies for AFGSC. The exercise involved participants from USSTRATCOM, USAF Headquarters, and the LeMay Center for Doctrine Development and Education at Maxwell AFB, Ala. New and emerging nuclear armed adversaries, modernization of nuclear weapons systems across the world, and the concept of deterrence against hostile regional actors are all part of AFGSC’s strategic challenges today, command officials said. Gaming out scenarios helps the command understand its environment and successfully execute the nuclear mission, said Brig. Gen. Clinton Crosier, AFGSC’s strategic director of plans, programs, requirements, and assessments. “This ‘first’ for the command is indicative of the command’s commitment to constantly [improve] the nuclear enterprise,” said Crosier.