US Deploying Special Forces in Baltics and Central Europe for Exercises

US and Polish special operations forces training, Sept. 23, 2011U.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.

Image: US and Polish special operations forces training, Sept. 23, 2011 (photo: US Army)