A quarter-century after the formal end of the Cold War, U.S. forces must relearn what it is like to fight alongside their NATO allies in Europe, as the threat from a rising Russia increases.
Marines and Army troops have been rotating through various European countries and engaging in training exercises on scales not seen in years. As such, they are figuring out what does and does not work in the European theater of operations, and have identified a few unmet needs.
For one, though everyone with a smart phone can access GPS, some Blackhawk helicopters cannot.
“In the national airspace here in the United States, we have a lot of ground-based navigational aids that we use to fly when we’re in the clouds, when we’re in instrument conditions,” said Col. Clair Gill, the commander of the 10th Mountain Division’s combat aviation brigade. “To fly in Europe, which is a satellite-based flying environment…we could only fly limited places that had ground-based capabilities.”
In addition, Marines and soldiers discovered that the U.S. military’s cold weather gear and boots are lacking. “Cold isn’t something you can suck it up and fight; you have to learn to adapt,” said one Marine who trained in frigid Norway.
Third, in order to drive across Europe’s internal borders, cars and trucks laden with hazardous materials must comply with a longstanding, regularly updated safety certification process called the ADR. U.S. Army vehicles don’t.
That’s not just an inconvenience. It literally makes realistic training for a potential war on the continent impossible — and it might well hinder an actual wartime movement. [source]
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