The U.S. Strategic Command announced yesterday it had achieved an operational capability for rapidly striking targets around the globe using nuclear or conventional weapons, after last month testing its capacity for nuclear war against a fictional country believed to represent North Korea (see GSN, Oct. 21).

In a press release yesterday, STRATCOM said a new Joint Functional Component Command for Space and Global Strike on Nov. 18 “met requirements necessary to declare an initial operational capability.”

The requirements were met, it said, “following a rigorous test of integrated planning and operational execution capabilities during Exercise Global Lightning.”

The annual Global Lightning exercise last month tested U.S. strategic warfare capabilities, including the so-called CONPLAN 8022 mission for a global strike, according to publicly available military documents.

CONPLAN 8022 is “a new strike plan that includes [a] pre-emptive nuclear strike against weapons of mass destruction facilities anywhere in the world,” said Hans Kristensen, a consultant for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Global strike attacks could be launched from U.S. long-range bombers, nuclear submarines or land-based ballistic missiles, according to the STRATCOM Web site.

The new command was created Aug. 9 in an attempt to integrate broad elements of U.S. military power into global strike plans and operations.

That, according to an Arkin commentary in the Washington Post in May, could include anything from electronic jamming to penetrating computer networks, to commando operations, to the use of a nuclear earth penetrator. CONPLAN 8022, he wrote, is intended to address two scenarios using such capabilities: preventing a suspected imminent nuclear attack from a small state, and attacking an adversary’s suspected WMD infrastructure.

STRATCOM Commander Gen. James Cartwright said at an opening ceremony that the new command would help the country convey a “new kind of deterrence.”..

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This clears up a bit of puzzlement I felt seeing the story below this morning…

Europe won’t pick fight with Rice on CIA tactics

Allegations that the United States has committed abuses in Europe while waging its “war on terror” will cloud this week’s visit by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, but her hosts have little appetite for forcing the issue with Washington.
European officials seem satisfied, for now, that the United States has promised a formal response to press reports the CIA ran secret jails in Eastern Europe and covertly flew terrorist suspects through airports and bases across the continent.

They are loath to pick new quarrels with Washington and risk souring transatlantic ties which are only gradually recovering from a deep rift over the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

They may also be nervous about what further investigation could uncover. Some European Union governments face awkward and persistent suggestions that they may have known and approved of secret U.S. operations taking place on their soil….

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