We Exercise for a Reason

By Riki Ellison

Over in Europe this past week was the conclusion of the annual Saber Strike 2018, from June 3-15, an exercise bringing 19 NATO Allied and partner nations’ militaries to the Eastern NATO borders of Europe.

With that exercise, the 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command (AAMDC) and 5-7 Air Defense Artillery (ADA) Battalion from Kaiserslautern, Germany, as well as the  678th ADA Brigade from South Carolina brought their soldiers, including missile and air defense equipment, into Poland.

The United States transported their three Batteries of Patriot and Short-Range Air Defense (SHORAD) air defenses (Alpha from the 5-7; Bravo and Charlie from the 678th) over land and for the first time Patriot missiles flown in by C-17s from Ramstein, Germany into Poland, demonstrating speed of assembly to defend Miroslawiec Air Base in Poland.

Serendipitously this past weekend, Russia released a video clip of a transporter erector launcher (TEL) firing its short-range Iskander-M missile in an exercise.

These nuclear capable and mobile ballistic missiles today are deployed in Kaliningrad – which lies between the Baltic States and Poland countries that participated in the NATO Saber Strike exercise – with a range of 400-500km that could strike Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, and Belarus.

These Russian missiles can be defeated and negated by the U.S. Patriot systems that were deployed in Poland at Saber Strike 2018.

We exercise for a reason- deterrence, stability, and status quo.

Ellison is the Chairman and Founder of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance.