US Special Operations Command’s biggest exercise ever in Europe sends ‘a strategic message’ amid rising tension with Russia


As Russia’s struggle towards Ukraine raged on, US Particular Operations Command hosted its greatest train ever in Europe.

Greater than 3,300 particular operators from 30 international locations took half in Trojan Footprint 22 in Might, doubling the scale of final yr’s model of the train and sending a message in regards to the special-operations capabilities of NATO and its companions.

Trojan Footprint 22 centered on mission command for special-operations items that rotate between the Baltics and the Black Sea. Furthermore, in accordance with the train’s planners, it set the situations for elevated interoperability between special-operations forces and standard items throughout “throughout mixed, joint, and multi-domain warfare.”

Coming just some months after Russia renewed its assault on Ukraine, Trojan Footprint 22’s important situation mirrored the pre-war state of affairs.

“It was designed to be a slow-boil a low-intensity battle that may span years however creates fixed strain in varied methods,” Derek Coker, lead train planner, stated in a press launch. “The adversary assaults sure nations’ means to control, creating inner dissonance and infighting that hacks away on the legitimacy of those governments, in essence making an attempt to exhibit that these nations are unable to control themselves.”

The train ran from Might 2 to Might 13, and among the many greater than 3,300 particular operators had been commandos from Sweden and Finland, which have utilized for NATO membership.

Past its measurement, Trojan Footprint 22 was the primary time an train had a mixed joint pressure headquarters that simulated the joint command of a number of special-operations items from completely different NATO militaries.

From the US special-operations group, the tenth Particular Forces Group took the lead. The Inexperienced Berets of the unit are all the time on the frontlines, coaching with and advising NATO allies and members in Europe.

Planning for workout routines like Trojan Footprint begins greater than a yr prematurely, and whereas its focus appears heavy on US particular operations, it actually improves interoperability of the forces concerned, John Black, a retired Military Particular Forces warrant officer, instructed Insider.

“For America to work with its allies [and] with an ever-changing risk state of affairs globally, it is vital for us to have the ability to work fluidly with one other nation, and Trojan footprint gives a terrific base and basis for that to occur,” added Black, who was on the bottom throughout Trojan Footprint 22.

The train happened amid unprecedented occasions in Europe. Russia’s assault on Ukraine is the continent’s largest battle since World Struggle II, and the train in Might was the primary time for the reason that assault started in February that NATO particular operators from so many international locations have skilled collectively.

Whereas occasions in Ukraine had been on the members’ minds, they did not let that struggle take away from Trojan Footprint 22.

“From my perspective it actually wasn’t a spotlight or concern,” Black stated. “We simply actually wished to work with our partnered nations to perform a big listing of coaching duties and enhance {our relationships} with that nation.”

“It was nice to see many countries which are very succesful and have a combating pressure. For me, this bolstered my perception in a safer tomorrow,” the retired Inexperienced Beret added.

Because the special-operations part of US European Command, Particular Operations Command Europe is a continuing presence in Europe and regularly trains with allies and companions there to construct their capabilities and counter malign actions primarily these of Russia.

“One among our priorities is constructing resilience towards adversary efforts to undermine democratic processes and values. This joint, mixed coaching in Europe will proceed to construct and strengthen these relationships with our allies and companions, establishing a standard sight-picture for fight and peacekeeping missions overseas,” Maj. Gen. David Tabor, the pinnacle of Particular Operations Command Europe, stated within the launch.

Stavros Atlamazoglou is a protection journalist specializing in particular operations, a Hellenic Military veteran (nationwide service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Military HQ), and a Johns Hopkins College graduate.