U.S. Commandos Stage War Game to Deter Russia
NATO allies need reassuring
American commandos arrived in Estonia earlier this month to take part in Exercise Spring Storm 2014. Special operators are traveling across Europe this summer to help assure NATO allies they are safe as the crisis in Ukraine continues.
In Estonia, soldiers from the 10th Special Forces Group participated in one pf Spring Storm’s four phases. The exercise is Estonia’s main military training event.
The specialized training included practicing to sneak behind enemy lines using old Soviet biplanes, small boats and even farm tractors—seen below.
U.S. commandos will also go to the other Baltic nations later this month. Various NATO special operations forces will gather in Lithuanian to train and American troops will participate in Latvia’s annual national defense exercise.
U.S. Special Operations Command also plans to conduct at least five smaller training missions in the Baltic region and Eastern Europe this summer. American commandos could conceivably travel to countries like Poland, Bulgaria and Romania for these exercises.
These deployments are all part of the America’s response to “Russia’s aggression in Ukraine,” according to the Army. Baltic and eastern European NATO members worry that the ongoing crisis could spill across their borders.
Russia seized the strategic Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in late February. The Kremlin is also reportedly supporting various ethnic Russian separatist movements in that country and has thousands of troops stationed along the border.
Estonia and other countries with significant pro-Russian minorities worry that the same thing might happen to them. A rebellion in a NATO member state could also seriously damage the alliance.
As a result, Washington sent 600 soldiers to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland at the beginning of April. The American paratroopers participated in an earlier portion of Spring Storm.
But elite special operations troops might be better at preventing Russian Spetznaz and intelligence agents from creeping into NATO nations. These so-called “little green men” were a major factor early on in the Ukrainian crisis.
American commandos perform missions like “special reconnaissance” and “foreign internal defense” that could keep potential intruders at bay. Special recon means figuring out what your enemy is doing, while FID involves helping allies fight insurgents.
Washington also wants what it calls a “persistent rotational presence” in these regions. The Pentagon and NATO hope to dissuade the Russians from intervening anywhere else.
This means American forces will continue to train across Europe for short periods of time for the foreseeable future.