Date published: May 21, 2012
Russian "Airborne Assault Forces" will be arriving in Colorado this May for joint terror-war exercises with U.S. soldiers, according to U.S. officials and Russian military personnel cited in media reports. The Kremlin's Defense Ministry and the U.S. Department of Defense both said it would be the first time in history that American and Russian airborne special operations troops would be training together on U.S. soil.
"The Russian soldiers are here as invited guests of the U.S. government; this is part of a formal bilateral exchange program between the U.S. and Russia that seeks to develop transparency and promote defense reform," Cmdr. Wendy L. Snyder, U.S. Defense Press Officer for policy, told The New American in an e-mail. "This is the first time that American and Russian special operations troops have participated in a bilateral exercise."
According to Snyder, the exercises - which she said would last about three weeks in all - will serve to train and improve skills related to terror-war fighting. About 20 Russian soldiers will be participating, with most of the training to take place on the Fort Carson, Colorado, Army base and a mountain training area several hours away.
"Aside from typical military training, the exchange will include discussions on the rule of land warfare, developing appropriate rules of engagement, and employing cultural literacy and competency in the tactical environment," Snyder explained. "This type of training is routinely conducted by 10th Special Forces Group."
While U.S. officials remained largely silent on the operation until contacted by the press, the Russian government has been touting the unprecedented terror drills through official announcements and news reports in state-controlled media for over a week. In fact, virtually all of the details about the exercise that emerged publicly early on came from Kremlin sources. "According to the exercise scenario, soldiers of the two countries will hold a tactical airborne operation, including reconnaissance of an imaginary terrorists' camp and a raid," Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Col. Aleksandr Kucherenko was quoted as saying in official news reports, also noting that it was the first time such an exercise would be held. "The Russian Airborne Assault Force will contribute a special task group that will exercise with U.S. special service weapons."
Before the official drills begin on May 24, the Russian government's forces will reportedly be training to use a wide array of American military equipment at the U.S. Army's Fort Carson base. Parachuting, operations planning, reconnaissance, assaults, raids, and evacuations will all be on the agenda.