U.S. special operations forces are increasing their presence in the Baltics and eastern Europe with a continuous cycle of exercises planned as part of a new effort to maintain a “persistent presence” of elite U.S. troops in a region rattled by Russia’s recent actions in Ukraine.
Troops assigned to Special Operations Command Europe launched their “Exercise Spring Storm” in Estonia on Tuesday, which will be the first in a series of multinational and bilateral drills aimed at maintaining a constant presence of Green Berets and other operators in the region, the command said. . . .
In addition to long-standing annual exercises, SOCEUR has added a number of new training programs over the next two months in five counties across the Baltics and eastern Europe. Follow-on missions are also being planned to ensure an ongoing presence of special operators, according to the command.
The so-called Joint Combined Exchange Training events will involve small teams of operators, who work on a range of combat tactics on 30-day rotations. The troops, including Green Berets, SEALS and Air Force operators, will be pulled from SOCEUR headquarters in Stuttgart and across the SOF community to maintain a constant rotational presence. . . .
After exercises in Estonia, SOCEUR will conduct Flaming Sword 14 in Lithuania later this month, followed by an annual national-level defense exercise in Latvia.