US Pacific Command’s Valiant Shield 2010 exercise kicked off Sunday, bringing together more than 150 US combat aircraft, along with Marine and Navy at-sea elements to practice joint counterair and countersea concepts near Guam. “It is a rare opportunity to bring together platforms that normally do not regularly exercise together, such as B-52 bombers and carrier strike groups,” said Brig. Gen. John Doucette, 36th Wing commander at Andersen Air Force Base on the island, from which most of the aircraft will operate. This training opportunity helps to ensure that US forces in the Pacific are “capable of an overwhelming and decisive response” in any future regional contingency, he added. Participating aircraft include B-52s, E-3 AWACS, F-15s, F-15Es, F-22s, HH-60 helicopters, KC-10 and KC-135 tankers, Marine Corps AV-8s, and Navy E-2Cs, F/A-18s, and P-3s. The exercise runs through Sept. 21. (Andersen release) (See also Pearl Harbor-Hickam release)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.