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Press Release | Oct. 18, 2019




Military exercises VIGILANT SHIELD 20 and GLOBAL THUNDER 20 commenced today, providing integrated training opportunities for North American Aerospace Defense Command, U.S. Northern Command and U.S. Strategic Command.

NORAD and USNORTHCOM lead VIGILANT SHIELD 20, an annual homeland defense exercise focused on the single, unyielding priority of defending North America from attack. The exercise incorporates the Canadian Joint Operations Command, other American combatant commands, services, appropriate U.S. government agencies, and allies, demonstrating readiness and ability to defend Canada and the United States by responding to a wide variety of security contingencies.

“Defending the homelands is our number one priority,” said General Terrence O’Shaughnessy, Commander of NORAD and USNORTHCOM, “Exercising with other combatant commands, services and government agencies provides opportunities to closely examine and refine our processes and procedures, ensuring we, in close coordination with our partners, effectively conduct our homeland defense mission.”

USSTRATCOM leads GLOBAL THUNDER 20, an annual command and control exercise providing training opportunities to assess USSTRATCOM mission areas and operational readiness, with a specific focus on nuclear readiness. This exercise employs global operations in coordination with other combatant commands, services, appropriate U.S. government agencies, and allies to deter, detect and, if necessary, defeat strategic attacks against the United States and its allies.

For GLOBAL THUNDER 20, the headquarters staff, USSTRATCOM components and subordinate units are participating in this exercise to test readiness and ensure a safe, secure, ready and reliable strategic deterrent force.

Large-scale exercises, like GLOBAL THUNDER and VIGILANT SHIELD, involve extensive coordination and provide unique training for assigned units and our allies.

NORAD conducts aerospace warning, aerospace control and maritime warning in the defense of North America. USNORTHCOM partners to conduct homeland defense, civil support, and security cooperation to defend and secure the United States and its interests.

USSTRATCOM has global responsibilities assigned through the Unified Command Plan, including strategic deterrence, nuclear operations, joint electromagnetic spectrum operations, global strike, missile defense, and analysis and targeting.


For more information about Exercise VIGILANT SHIELD, contact the NORAD and USNORTHCOM Public Affairs Office at 719-554-6889.

For questions about Exercise GLOBAL THUNDER, contact USSTRATCOM Public Affairs Office at 402-294-4130.