- - Tuesday, June 14, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Toward the end of the Cold War, the U.S. and Norwegian military began storing military equipment for use in a conflict with the Soviet Union in classified caves located throughout central Norway. Luckily, the Norwegian government recognized the need to maintain the facilities after the fall of the Soviet Union. The caves are now being used again and have enough equipment prepositioned to support 15,000 U.S. Marines.

“Any gear that is forward-deployed both reduces cost and speeds up our ability to support operations in crisis, so we’re able to fall in on gear that is ready-to-go and respond to whatever that crisis may be,” Col. William Bentley, operations officer for the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, said in a statement Friday on the Norwegian deployment that called the caves classified, reports CNN.

Some 6,500 pieces of the equipment in the cave will be used in an upcoming training exercise, Cold Response 16, which will take place later this month, the Marines said. The exercise will include 12 NATO allies and partners, and more than 16,000 troops.

All of the Nordic countries, including non-NATO members are re-evaluating their defense posture and cooperation with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization after Russia’s behavior in Ukraine and the Baltic Sea. Russia has threatened Sweden, Finland and others with a “response” if military preparedness and exercises are increased. The Russian enclave in Kaliningrad is of special concern due to the hyper militarization of the area, which sits in the middle of the northern tier of the alliance.


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