US Strategic Command’s space component—Joint Functional Component Command for Space—recently concluded an exercise that allowed the command to practice delivering synchronized space effects through a contested environment. Global Lightning 16 ran from April 23 to April 28, but was in the works for a year, according to a May 3 release. The annual exercise focused on STRATCOM’s capabilities provided to geographic combatant commanders during a crisis or contingency, according to the release. This time, the Commercial Integration Cell, overseen by the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, played a larger role in the exercise and integrated commercial space operators into the Joint Space Operations Center.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.