Friday, August 7, 2020

U.S. and Allied Forces in Black Sea ‘Sending Message’ to Russia

Just days after Russia initiated a major “snap combat readiness” drill for its armed forces in the region, the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) entered the Black Sea to participate in the annual Sea Breeze 2020 NATO exercise.

As reported by the Navy Times, the operation is co-hosted by the U.S. and Ukraine and involves more than 2,000 personnel from allies such as Bulgaria, Georgia, Norway, Romania, Spain, and Turkey. According to the U.S. Navy, Sea Breeze 2020 will focus on “air defense, anti-sub warfare, damage control and search and rescue.”

This region is critical to Moscow as Russia’s only warm water ports are located along the Black Sea. The goal of this complex joint training exercise seems clear, notes the Navy Times – to “send a message to Russia, which has taken over Crimea from Ukraine, harassed Ukraine naval vessels and invaded eastern Ukraine.”

The Porter’s captain, Cmdr. Craig M. Trent was quoted by the Navy Times as saying,

We’re excited to be in the Black Sea participating in Exercise Sea Breeze this year. It definitely gives us a strong sense of purpose and mission. And we do enjoy building relationships and developing comradery amongst our fellow allies and partners.

But the USS Porter is not alone. Among the other U.S. naval forces present is a P-8A Poseidon anti-submarine aircraft from Patrol Squadron 47. These U.S. naval assets have been joined by aircraft from U.S. Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) and “assets from U.S. Naval Forces Europe, U.S. Special Operations Command Europe, and U.S. Space Command,” reported the Navy Times.

Together they reportedly conducted a unique, but unknown, “all domain mission.” The Navy Times added:

As part of the training mission, F-16 fighter jets stationed in Italy at Aviano Air Base practiced joint air-to-surface missile tactics…MC-130J Commando II tankers from the 352nd Special Operations Wing at RAF Mildenhall, England, were present to demonstrate special operations forces insertion capabilities. Also participating were refueling air tankers stationed at RAF Mildenhall and UAVs out of Miroslawiec Air Base, Poland.

For Moscow’s Black Sea-based forces, its “snap combat readiness check,” involved warships, combat aircraft and more than 3,000 personnel, Russia’s state-run news agency TASS reported. Tass added – “During the exercise, the ships’ crew made their urgent preparation for a battle and practiced withdrawing the main forces from a notional enemy’s strike.”

In response, Gen. Jeff Harrigian, USAFE commander, made the message to Russia more clear in his statement, quoted by the Navy Times:

Conducting operations in the Black Sea ensures stability throughout the region…Our combined presence strengthens relationships with our allies and partners while sending a message to any adversary that we are committed to collective defense and ready to respond in a complex security environment.

Message to U.S. allies and Moscow sent. Message hopefully also received by the Kremlin.

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Paul Crespo
Paul Crespo
Paul Crespo is a defense and national security expert. He served as a Marine Corps officer and as a military attaché with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) at US embassies worldwide. He holds degrees from Georgetown, London, and Cambridge Universities. Paul is also CEO of SPECTRE Global Risk, a security advisory firm, and a Contributor to American Defense News.

5 COMMENTS

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Burnirth Hanna
Burnirth Hanna
14 days ago

shoot the dam spy

Tomas Gruppf
Tomas Gruppf
13 days ago

Walking through other people’s back yards with guns does not “ensure regional stability” in any way.

russell remmert
russell remmert
13 days ago

let us all pray that one day we will all work together

Fr. James Rosselli
Fr. James Rosselli
10 days ago

Russia is not a threat. Hasn’t been a threat since the overthrow of the USSR in 1991. Mendacious opportunists, looking to profit from a re-boot of the cold war, are pushing this noxious agenda. So are the God-hating doyens of the Globalist movement, as they look to do as much damage as [possible to a forthrightly Christian nation.

Time for the people to “send a message” to them, not Russia. Keep those cards and letters coming, to the White House and to your Senators and Representatives.

JOHN FLEMING
JOHN FLEMING
7 days ago

read the history of the start of the Crimean War- we should be very careful.Crimea is home to Russia’s largest Naval base, Sevastapol) and Yalta. we need to get Ukraine and Russia to come up with sensible solution

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