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NEWS | Feb. 14, 2023

Northern Strike 23-2 Middle Planning Conference completed

By Staff Sgt. Tristan D. Viglianco Michigan National Guard Public Affairs

A week after completing this year’s first Northern Strike (NS) exercise iteration, NS 23-1, the Michigan National Guard held the Middle Planning Conference (MPC) for NS 23-2, Feb. 7-10, at Camp Grayling, Mich.

The summer iteration is scheduled to take place across northern Michigan’s National All-Domain Warfighting Center (NADWC) Aug. 5-19, 2023.

“Northern Strike is a National Guard Bureau program that offers a training environment for units and leaders to strengthen warfighting capabilities,” said Lt. Col. Randy Knowles, NS land component operations officer. “We use various models and simulations to build readiness at each echelon in a joint environment.”

NS 23-2 will feature approximately 6,000 troops from all three Army components, the Air Force’s active and guard components, both Marine components, and the Navy Reserve. Latvia and Liberia, the Michigan National Guard’s state partners, and the United Kingdom are also expected to participate.

Representatives from the participating units came together at the MPC to create various products designed to tackle the objectives and goals laid out at the Initial Planning Conference . Working groups with subject matter experts address issues across various warfighting functions, so that during execution units can focus on meeting their training requirements..

“This conference is where the sausage gets made,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin Palmatier, NS senior enlisted leader. “We all work together across the functions to plan, so visiting units can get after training objectives.”

In addition to Northern Strike, the Michigan Air National Guard (MIANG), is hosting a nested exercise, designed to test the Air Force’s Agile Combat Employment concept, known as Northern Agility 23, July 31- Aug. 8.

“For Northern Strike we are getting after joint sustainment and fires, which for the air component means primarily close air support and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance support,” said Matt Trumble, MIANG exercise planner. “We combine this with Northern Agility, which is the Air Force exercising its maneuver capability.”

Units attending one of the two exercise iterations are able to seamlessly plug in thanks to the hard work done by the NS planning staff. They work year round to ensure attendees are building readiness and getting the most out of their time in northern Michigan.

“Left and right limits do exist, but our team is here to find the yes, so units can meet their METS [Mission Essential Tasks],” said Palmatier.