The Marine Corps Times on Tuesday reported the details of the run-up to what’s being described as NATO’s largest ever military games in a decade, called Trident Juncture, set to take place right up along Russia’s border with Europe.
Currently, the US Marine Corps is engaged in preparatory maneuvers with Swedish counterparts in a training exercise that involves mock raids and amphibious operations up and down Sweden’s coastal island archipelagos.
Some 75 US Marines are said to be involved in the training which involves navigating an area of thousands of small islands known as the Stockholm Archipelago and which extend nearly 40 miles to the east into the Baltic Sea.
Russia is interpreting the exercises as a deeply provocative military action that signals NATO could be planning to use Scandinavian countries as a launch point for a potential future conflict.
The Marines are considered America’s most advanced forward deployed force “as the President may direct” according to their founding purpose and codified under the National Security Act of 1947. For this reason they are considered a “force projection” and “first to be deployed” unit in any major conflict.
Though Trident Juncture, which will involve nearly 40,000 NATO troops, is not set to start until later this Fall, the Marine exercise, called Archipelago Endeavor, is part of a broader and semi-permanent build-up of American Marine forces in Scandinavia which was first reported months ago.
It was revealed in early June that the Norwegian government, which is hosting the NATO games, intends to add 400 U.S. Marines to Norway before the most significant military exercise since the Cold War, according to the country’s Ministry of Defense. By the time the Trident Juncture games begin, about 700 Marines in total are expected to be present in the Scandinavian region, and will reportedly be based in Norway for a period of five years.
Predictably, Russia has responded by pointing to the “anti-Russia” nature of the impending NATO exercises.
During a briefing last week,