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More than 5,000 reservists converge on Michigan for Northern Strike exercise

Exercise Northern Strike 21.2, bringing over 5,000 active duty troops and reservists together in northern Michigan, begins this week. Photo courtesy of U.S. Air National Guard
Exercise Northern Strike 21.2, bringing over 5,000 active duty troops and reservists together in northern Michigan, begins this week. Photo courtesy of U.S. Air National Guard

July 28 (UPI) -- Northern Strike 21.2, a two-week all-domain training exercise involving over 5,100 U.S. military reservists, gets underway this week in northern Michigan.

The annual event, hosted by the Michigan National Guard, is among the National Guard's largest joint readiness exercises, and this year includes members of the active U.S. Army, Army Ready Reserve and Army National Guard; Marine Corps active duty and reservists; Air Force active duty and reservists, and the Navy Reserve.

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Personnel from various states and territories will meet at the National All-Domain Warfighting Center for training focused on expeditionary skills, command and control, sustainment and joint integrated fires, the Air National Guard said.

Troops from Britain, Latvia, Liberia and Taiwan are also expected to participate.

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The NADWC encompasses the Camp Grayling Maneuver Training Center and the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center, a training area of 148,000 acres of space and over 17,000 square miles of special-use airspace.

"Northern Strike is executed in complex field conditions designed to simulate a realistic wartime environment," U.S. Army Col. Bart Verbanic, Northern Strike land component officer in charge, said in a press release.

"This tests visiting units' ability to partner and communicate effectively across coalitions and components," Verbanic said.

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The exercise focuses on joint combined arms live-fire training and close air support, joint fire support, coordinated maneuvers and air mobility including command, control, communications, computers and intelligence of theater air-ground system in action scenarios.

"What sets Michigan's NADWC apart from all other training installations is the ability to build readiness capacity for all war fighting functions in a contested multi-domain training environment that enables joint integration at echelon," Verbanic said.

Initiated in 2012, the Northern Strike exercise has grown into a scenario-based, full-spectrum readiness training drill with participants exercising in land, sea, air, space and cyberspace domains.

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This year's event will include addresses by military research agencies and industry partners on the topics of artificial intelligence, software and communication improvements, automated equipment, and space operations.

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