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Exercise to unite four combatant commands to test homeland defenses for the first time

For the first time, four U.S. combatant commands are coming together this week for an exercise that simulates how the military would respond to an attack on its home turf.

Headed by U.S. Northern Command, the four-day exercise began this week off the East Coast and also involves U.S. Space, Transportation and Strategic commands, according to NORTHCOM.

The aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman strike group and its air wing will join Canadian fighter jets and Air Force F-15s in conducting intercepts against adversary aircraft during the exercise, which began Thursday and will wrap up Sunday.

This week’s exercise continues a long stint at sea for the Truman’s crew.

The ship left Norfolk in November for its third overseas cruise in the past four years.

While the strike group’s deployment began to wrap up this spring, it spent its time as a rapid-response force at sea instead of pierside in order to protect the crew from exposure to COVID-19.

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 Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy, the head of NORTHCOM, said in a statement.

Correction: this article incorrectly stated when the Truman deployed last year. The carrier deployed in November.

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