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U.S. Troops Train in Eastern Europe to Echoes of the Cold War – The … – New York Times

With that in mind, top American planners and intelligence officials are closely watching Russian operations in Crimea, eastern Ukraine, and Syria, all proving grounds for new Russian tactics and weaponry. Young American Army officers are once again using flash cards — or the digital equivalent — to study the structure and abilities of Russian Army units, just as American officers did with earlier generations of Russian forces and weaponry in the 1970s and 1980s.

The Army’s training centers in California, Louisiana and Germany are now including more scenarios that replicate Russian forces, even if scenario planners there, and here, are careful to give the opposing forces fictitious names to avoid ruffling diplomatic feathers even more between Washington and Moscow.

The United States Army’s presence in Europe is a far cry from the height of the Cold War, 30,000 soldiers now compared with 300,000 then, General Hodges said. For that reason, the general is putting heavy emphasis on the “speed of assembly” — how quickly troops and their equipment can move hundreds of miles and be prepared to fight at a moment’s notice.

The $40 million exercise here, called Saber Guardian, the largest in Europe this year, included driving more than 1,000 troops and hundreds of vehicles about 1,200 miles across Europe, the equivalent of going from St. Louis to Miami. Hundreds of allied troops — including American soldiers with faces painted in green and black camouflage — and their 60-ton tanks crossed the Danube River on temporary bridges, fending off mock attacks on the other side.

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U.S. Troops Train in Eastern Europe to Echoes of the Cold War – The … – New York Times

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