Ice-Cold Geopolitics (I)

BERLIN/OSLO/WASHINGTON | | usa

BERLIN/OSLO/WASHINGTON (Own report) - A NATO war game, currently taking place in Norway, with the participation of elite units of the German Bundeswehr, includes training the deployment of nuclear arms against Russia. The exercise named "Cold Response" involves the use of B-52 bombers, particularly designed to drop nuclear bombs. According to Adm. Cecil D. Haney, commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, this is to provide "an extra nuclear deterrent" against Russia. Parallel to "Cold Response," US Navy nuclear submarines are training the tracking of enemy submarines in the Arctic Ocean, to counter an alleged Russian "militarization of the Arctic." The Bundeswehr, in turn, uses "Cold Response" to train its units, specialized in military operations behind enemy lines. These units include the German Special Forces Commandos (KSK), who had been involved in illegal killings in Afghanistan. The KSK, according to the Bundeswehr, accomplishes its training task in Norway "preferably with no audience and in the dark."

Simulated Nuclear War

Elite units of the German Bundeswehr are participating in the NATO "Cold Response" war game, taking place until March 22 in the Trøndelag counties in Central Norway. The simulated use of nuclear arms, as defense against an alleged Russian aggression, is an integral part of this exercise. Three B-52 strategic bombers, specialized to drop nuclear bombs, were flown in by the US Air Force to participate. As Adm. Cecil D. Haney, commander of the U.S. Strategic Command explained, for the western Alliance, these B-52s are vital to project "global power" and provide an extra "nuclear deterrent" against Russia.[1] The Norwegian Armed Forces emphasize that they have "good experience" with the "fire support" provided by the B-52s in their combat operations in Afghanistan.[2]

Climate-Controlled Caves

"Cold Response" also involves US Marines, who are particularly designated for landing operations on foreign territory and are regularly training with live ammunition. They can use numerous climate-controlled caves near the Russian border, in which the US military stores weapons systems - including tanks and amphibious assault vehicles - for up to 15,000 soldiers. According to a US Marines' spokesperson, the elite troops have learned a lot about desert operations and are now preparing for operations in zones of "extreme cold."[3]

Winter Warfare in the Dark

Along the same lines, the Bundeswehr has declared that in Norway during "Cold Response," it seeks to develop its "skills in winter warfare" alongside the 14,000 soldiers from other NATO countries, as well as those from formally neutral Sweden and Finland. Compatible to the US Marines' range of tasks, the German armed forces also have the assignment of "creating the prerequisites for a large-scale amphibious landing" under unfavorable climatic conditions. The exercise also focuses on the "collaboration" between conventional troops and elite units, which are assigned to covert commando operations behind enemy lines.[4] This includes the deployment of German Special Forces Commandos (KSK) involved in illegal killings in Afghanistan. According to the Bundeswehr, "Cold Response" is a "free-roaming" exercise, during which soldiers will also encounter the civilian population in public, on the streets, in parking lots or at gas stations. This, however, does not apply to the KSK troops. "They accomplish their tasks preferably with no audience and in the dark."[5]

Impressive Portfolio

In addition to the KSK, the Airborne Ground Surveillance (AGS) Company 310, stationed in Lower Saxony's Seedorf, is also participating in "Cold Response." This unit, like the KSK, is an element of the "Rapid Forces Division" and, according to the Bundeswehr, can be "deployed in any climatic zone or terrain" within 72 hours. In preparation for "Cold Response," the troops have received "special arctic training."[6] Their objective is the surveillance of enemy positions, to be able to provide other "special forces" the necessary information for offensive operations. For this, the unit is not only equipped with ground sensors and radar, but also with drones. Their "portfolio" is thus "actually impressive," explains the Bundeswehr.[7]

Infiltration

Already in 2014, long-range reconnaissance forces of the German military had participated in "Cold Response." The Bundeswehr, at the time, had declared that the special unit not only had a "great capacity for perseverance" on foreign territory, but could also "operate autonomously" and "depending on the various means of transport, could reach its objective by land, sea or air." Thanks to an "approx. 100 kilometer penetration depth onto enemy territory ahead of their own forces," they represent "a unique reconnaissance source for the necessary information for the superior operational command." In "cold Response 2014," the "infiltration" in question obviously also served the surveillance of individual enemy soldiers over a period of days in preparation for targeted assassinations. "It is essential to still be wide awake, even on the fifth day, to not miss that important person, as he, for example, is just driving over the bridge."[8]

Cause of Disagreement

Parallel to this year's "Cold Response"- Maneuver the US Navy has begun an "Ice Exercise" ("Icex") maneuver with nuclear submarines in the Arctic Ocean. The "tracking" of enemy underwater vessels will be exercised, to counter the "militarization of the Arctic region," which leading representatives of the US military attribute to Russia.[9] According to a semi-official US military journal, there is a direct relationship between "Cold Response" and "Icex." "Together, the exercises underscore the emergence of the Arctic as an area of concern as melting ice caps raise the prospects for competition over vital undersea natural resources. The area could become a flash point between the U.S. and Russia."[10]

[1] In a rare deployment, B-52 bombers head to Europe for training exercises. www.stripes.com 02.03.2016.
[2] B-52 kicked off the exercise. forsvaret.no 02.03.2016.
[3] What happens when Marines go to Norway? 'The Fast and the Furious' on ice. In tanks. www.washingtonpost.com 18.02.2016.
[4] Auftakt zu Cold Response: Hoher Norden - hohe Erwartungen. www.bundeswehr.de 29.02.2016.
[5] Cold Response: Auf der Straße nach Norden. www.bundeswehr.de 04.03.2016.
[6] Auftakt zu Cold Response: Hoher Norden - hohe Erwartungen. www.bundeswehr.de 29.02.2016.
[7] Schnelle Aufklärung bei Cold Response. www.bundeswehr.de 01.03.2016.
[8] Fernspäher allein in Fjordland. www.bundeswehr.de 20.03.2014.
[9] US Navy begins Arctic exercise amid stepped-up criticism of Russia. blogs.wsj.com 02.03.2016.
[10] US conducts submarine drill in Arctic. www.stripes.com 03.03.2016.