Dangerous war exercise of Northern Command


On May 28, U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) launched a four-day war exercise over the northeast coast of the U.S. and Canada. It was unprecedented in that it also involves U.S. Space, Transportation and Strategic commands.

The U.S. Navy Times reports that “The aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman strike group and its air wing will join Canadian fighter jets [CF-18s – Ed. Note] and Air Force F-15s in conducting intercepts against adversary aircraft during the exercise, which began Thursday [May 28] and will wrap up Sunday [May 31]. [1]


“An Air Force B-1B bomber will be used as the enemy aiming to infiltrate U.S. airspace as well.

“Along the way, brass hope the exercise can strengthen the military’s ability to communicate and share real-time information in such a scenario, according to NORTHCOM.

“U.S. Transportation Command is providing refueling tankers along the coast to support defending forces during the exercise, and Space Command is providing satellite communications and GPS.

“‘Leading complex multi-combatant command operations across multiple domains demonstrates our readiness to defend our homeland regardless of COVID-19,’ Air Force General Terrence O’Shaughnessy, the head of NORTHCOM (and NORAD), said in a statement.”

On May 29, U.S. Northern Command tweeted “Gen. O’Shaughnessy, @NORAD Command & NORTHCOM CDR, visited USS Harry S. Truman for our one-of-a-kind #Homeland Defense exercise in the Atlantic! Despite #COVID19, we are ready to defend the Homelands!”

The Truman Strike Group is comprised of the flagship Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) and nine squadrons of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1, Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG-60) and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Forrest Sherman (DDG-98).

On June 4, newly-confirmed Secretary of the Navy Kenneth J. Braithwaite visited the Truman Carrier Strike Group  at sea, while visiting the crew and embarked Carrier Air Wing 1. The visit marked Braithwaite’s first official trip since taking the oath of office as the secretary of the Navy May 29.

While this exercise is falsely presented as “defensive,” the preceding exercise of this strike group clearly rehearsed sea-air-land aggression.

The U.S. Naval Institute reported that from May 12 to 18 the strike group “conducted a week of naval air integration exercises with the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing” based in North Carolina. “The week of day and night-time integration started with close air support exercises, in which Marine ground forces coordinated with Navy strike fighter aircraft to strike a precision target. During the close air support event, ground forces used combat communication with Navy aircraft to strike the targets.”

The US Air Force reports that all three types of US conventional and nuclear dual-capacity strategic bombers – B-2 Spirit, B-1B Lancer and B-52H – carried out missions to Europe from the United States in May. This showed that “the Covid-19 pandemic has not compromised the readiness and scope of US strategic bombers.”

At the end of February, the United States conducted a military exercise in Nebraska that “simulated a ‘limited’ nuclear exchange with Russia.”

That same month, the RCAF deployed 24 CF-188s – along with air to air refuellers and Globemaster cargo planes – from Bagotville and Cold Lake (433rd and 425th Tactical Squadrons) to participate in exercises at AFB Luke in Arizona and Nellis AFB in southern Nevada, the Tipic Sauvage and Haboob Havoc exercises. Before the release of the official USAF pictures taken by their photographers in March, “you didn’t hear a single thing about these Canadian training operations.” [2]

As usual, Northcom gives no other details of the location of the recent exercise – “our one-of-a-kind #Homeland Defense in the Atlantic!” – nor the number of RCAF war planes which it ordered to “defend the Homelands.”

The official Twitter page of the Royal Canadian Air Force is also silent about its participation, characteristic of the secrecy of a government which decrees the number of armed forces members infected by COVID-19 to be a matter of “national security”.

The latest two RCAF tweets at the time of writing feature an air drop of supplies to 13 people stranded on an island southwest of Puvirnituq, Quebec and the return of a 30-man mission providing radar support in Iceland, Operation Illumination, itself a revelation. The island nation is being remilitarized by the U.S. in its Cold War role as its “stepping stone” for “force projection” to Europe and the Arctic, just as the Azores formed an identical role to the Middle East and Africa.

Northern Command, created in October 2002, was allocated responsibility for the continental United States, Canada, Mexico, portions of the Caribbean including Jamaica and Puerto Rico, and the contiguous waters in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans up to 500 miles off the North American coastline. A U.S.-Canada agreement signed in December 2002 allows free entry of the troops of either country into the territory of the other.

US Nothern Command-Northcom.map
Northern Command, created in October 2002, was allocated responsibility for the continental United States, Canada, Mexico, portions of the Caribbean including Jamaica and Puerto Rico, and the contiguous waters in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans up to 500 miles off the North American coastline. A U.S.-Canada agreement signed in December 2002 allows free entry of the troops of either country into the territory of the other.

This exercise is dangerous when one considers the plans to declare Martial Law in the United States, as is evident in the response to the broad unrest against the police killings with impunity of African-Americans, the deployment of militarized police, federal and state National Guard troops totalling more than 64,000 in the “war against coronavirus” now greatly increased since June 1 in the “war against violent extremism,” the clashes between the White House and state governors over control of the machinery of state violence, and opposition from the military power to interference by the executive power.

William Arkin, one of the leading American security analysts, wrote in Newsweek on March 13 that on February 1 “U.S. Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper signed orders directing NORTHCOM to execute nationwide pandemic plans.” He reported that “Secretly, he signed Warning Orders (the WARNORD as it’s called) alerting NORTHCOM and a host of east coast units to ‘prepare to deploy’ in support of potential extraordinary missions.” These missions are codified in a series of seven secret plans involving “continuity of government and protection of the presidency.”

When could the military’s “emergency authority” be needed? “Traditionally, it’s thought of after a nuclear device goes off in an American city. But now, planners are looking at military response to urban violence as people seek protection and fight over food. And, according to one senior officer, in the contingency of the complete evacuation of Washington,” Arkin reports. All these plans are the responsibility of U.S. NORTHCOM.” [3]

View image on Twitter

Remarkable photo via @MarthaRaddatz, where U.S. troops are “defending” the Lincoln Memorial in Washington.

In addition, the provocative exercise coincides with the announcement by the Trump administration of U.S. withdrawal from the Treaty on Open Skies as part of its wrecking of post-war arrangements which no longer serve its interests. The treaty is an international arms control mechanism signed during a period of relative detente and ratified by 34 countries, most notably Russia and the USA, but also nearly all European NATO members. As usual, Washington blames Russia for its move and spreads disinformation about “Russian spying” on the United States, hence such exercises.

Ottawa follows suit, to divert attention from the fact that the U.S., through NORAD/NORTHCOM, is pushing the world closer to the brink of nuclear war in which the Canadian Forces are to be deployed to defend the “homeland.”

William Arkin writes that justifications must “present catastrophic pressure great enough to justify movement into extra-Constitutional actions and extraordinary circumstances plans,” which may conceivably be provided by alleged Russian bomber penetration or even Chinese missile attacks on the West Coast. Last year, Trump cited the danger of “invasions” across the U.S.-Mexican border eight times in one major speech to justify the deployment of almost 10,000 troops, raising the spectre of an invasion of Mexico itself.

The Treaty on open skies permits nations to conduct reconnaissance flights over each other’s territories with the number of flights depending on the size of the respective country. The USA and Russia for example are each allowed to conduct 42 flights annually and Germany twelve. More than 1,500 observation flights have been conducted since 2002, of which around 500 were conducted over Russian and Belorussian territory by the USA (200) and other NATO countries (300), according to the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) in Berlin. Russia has only conducted 70 flights over U.S. territory, and many more over European NATO-member countries, which are of central importance for preparations for potential U.S.-NATO aggression.


  1. It is not clear which model of F-15 are involved. Flight and ship tracking specialist and open source research consultant Steffan Watkins of Ottawa reminds that the F-15E are nuclear weapons delivery vehicles, as F-15E squadrons deploy and move around internationally.

2. Steffan Watkins, “Canadian fighter jets participated in exercise Tipic Sauvage and Haboob Havoc, at Nellis AFB and MCAS Miramar,” April 30, 2020. Medium.com.

3. William M. Arkin, “Inside The Military’s Top Secret Plans If Coronavirus Cripples the Government,” Newsweek, March 3, 2020.

4. According to Watkins, this includes a smear campaign spearheaded by the National Security Council targeting the U.S. Ambassador to the OSCE, James Gilmore, former governor of Virginia and chair of the Republican National Committee, due to his support of the Open Skies Treaty. “U.S. officials target U.S. ambassador with smear campaign, retaliation for positive Open Skies Treaty testimony,” March 14, 2020, Medium.com.

(With files from Navy Times, U.S. Naval Institute of Proceedings, german-foreign-policy.com, Newsweek.)

1 Comment

Filed under Canada, Canadian Forces, United States

One response to “Dangerous war exercise of Northern Command

  1. Pingback: The military implications of 5G | Tony Seed's Weblog

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