The Marine Corps is extending deployments in Norway, bolstering ties between the United States and its European allies, and needling Russia in the process.
Roughly 330 Marines have been supporting their NATO partners with training exercises in Vaernes, in central Norway, since January, but those rotations will now continue through 2018, according to a Department of Defense press release.
"Our Marines in Norway are demonstrating a high level of cooperation with our allies," Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Niel E. Nelson, commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa said in the release. "The more we train together alongside one another the stronger our Alliance becomes."
The Marines at Vaernes are about 900 miles from the Russian border, but Norwegian and American defense officials downplayed any link between the January Marine deployment and rising tensions between NATO and Russia since the beginning of the year.
"It has nothing to do with Russia or the current situation," Rune Haarstad, a Norwegian Home Guard spokesman, told Reuters on in January 16, when the first Marines deployed. The training mission focuses on warfare and survival in an arctic environment, including participation in the Norwegians’ annual “Exercise Joint Viking,” because when you operate in the European cradle of death metal, your operations need a metal name.
However, Russian officials haven’t been pleased with the devil dogs’ winter-wonderland deployment.
"The relationship between Norway and Russia is put to a test now," Maria Zakharova, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, told an interviewer in January. "Instead of developing economic cooperation, Norway is choosing to deploy United States troops on Norwegian soil."
The Marines and Norway have a longstanding relationship stretching back to the Cold War, but the January deployment and the continuing rotations mark the first time foreign forces have been stationed in Norway since World War II, according to Business Insider.
The newly announced deployments will consist of two rotations a year, but the cap appears to be set at roughly 330 Marines, who will continue to train alongside Norwegian forces.
A small unmanned aerial vehicle built by service academy cadets is shown here flying above ground. This type of small UAV was used by cadets and midshipmen from the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Military Academy and the U.S. Naval Academy, during a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency-sponsored competition at Camp Roberts, California, April 23-25, 2017. During the competition, cadets and midshipmen controlled small UAVs in "swarm" formations to guard territory on the ground at Camp Roberts. (U.S. Air Force photo)
Drones have been used in conflicts across the globe and will play an even more important role in the future of warfare. But, the future of drones in combat will be different than what we have seen before.
The U.S. military can set itself apart from others by embracing autonomous drone warfare through swarming — attacking an enemy from multiple directions through dispersed and pulsing attacks. There is already work being done in this area: The U.S. military tested its own drone swarm in 2017, and the UK announced this week it would fund research into drone swarms that could potentially overwhelm enemy air defenses.
I propose we look to the amoeba, a single-celled organism, as a model for autonomous drones in swarm warfare. If we were to use the amoeba as this model, then we could mimic how the organism propels itself by changing the structure of its body with the purpose of swarming and destroying an enemy.
Soldiers from 4th Squadron, 9th U.S. Cavalry Regiment "Dark Horse," 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, are escorted by observer controllers from the U.S. Army Operational Test Command after completing field testing of the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) Sept. 24, 2018. (U.S. Army/Maj. Carson Petry)
The Army has awarded a $575 million contract to BAE Systems for the initial production of its replacement for the M113 armored personnel carriers the service has been rocking downrange since the Vietnam War.
President Donald Trump has formally outlined how his administration plans to stand up the Space Force as the sixth U.S. military service – if Congress approves.
On Tuesday, Trump signed a directive that calls for the Defense Department to submit a proposal to Congress that would make Space Force fall under Department of the Air Force, a senior administration official said.