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Thread: The Pentagon Is Stuffing Caves in Norway Full of Tanks

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    Default The Pentagon Is Stuffing Caves in Norway Full of Tanks

    The Pentagon Is Stuffing Caves in Norway Full of Tanks

    The U.S. Marine Corps expands its Scandinavian arms stockpile

    August 16, 2014

    The Pentagon is sending tanks, armored vehicles and containers full of other military gear to caves in Norway. It’s all for the U.S. Marine Corps, which wants to update and expand its Scandinavian stockpile.

    The Corps has stashed weapons and equipment in the Norwegian countryside since the 1980s. With this setup, Marines can fly in and be ready for a fight in no time.

    In addition, the Pentagon saves money by not having to keep a large force in Norway year-round. Washington already spends billions each year running huge bases across Europe.

    But in the past, Marines rushing toward the sound of gunfire might have lacked firepower. Five years ago, Humvees with machine guns and missiles were the only combat vehicles in Norwegian storage, according to tables in an official Marine Corps handbook.

    Now, the military is adding M-1A1 Abrams tanks and a number of Assault Breacher Vehicles to the bunkers. The latter are heavily armored tracks designed to blow up minefields and push through other obstacles.

    The Pentagon is also adding M-88 tank retrievers, amphibious assault vehicles, up-armored Humvees and various upgraded trucks to the cache. The Corps expects to finish moving the new materiel under the mountains by the end of the month.


    The American military storehouses in Norway have all the other basic equipment a Marine Expeditionary Brigade needs to get up and running. A MEB can range in size from 14,000 to 18,000 people and includes tanks, helicopters and fighter jets.

    The Pentagon began planning to update the equipment in Norway last year. But the Marine Corps probably is especially happy now to have the extra vehicles as the crisis in Ukraine smolders.

    Earlier this year, Russian troops took control of Ukraine’s Crimea region. The Kremlin also is backing militant separatists fighting Kiev.

    In response to all of this, Washington stepped up military exercises in Europe to help calm its friends and allies. The Marines have been heavily involved in this “European Reassurance Initiative,” now called Operation Atlantic Resolve.

    Troops easily could find themselves training with these new vehicles in the near future. The Marine Corps Prepositioning Program in Norway has supplied equipment for exercises in the past.

    In fact, in May American forces pulled heavy armor out of depots in Germany for a massive war game. The Army also keeps Abrams tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles ready to go for training or potential crises.

    Whatever the case, Marines in Europe now have far more options—and NATO is probably happy they do.

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    Default Re: The Pentagon Is Stuffing Caves in Norway Full of Tanks

    Marines to begin deploying to Norway

    SOFREP | 10.15.2016 2 Comments

    As European allies watch Russian aggression in Europe with concern, the Norwegian government is considering allowing a small contingent of U.S. Marines to be based in the country to facilitate better military cooperation and be at the ready in the event of a crisis, has learned.

    The force under consideration is small, about 300 Marines, a defense official said.

    Pending the approval of the Norwegian government, the Marines would deploy in a six-month rotation, with additional rotations to follow if approved, the official said.

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    Default Re: The Pentagon Is Stuffing Caves in Norway Full of Tanks

    Another escalation
    Libertatem Prius!

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    Default Re: The Pentagon Is Stuffing Caves in Norway Full of Tanks

    U.S. Army Returns Tanks to Europe as NATO Eyes Assertive Russia

    December 16, 2016

    The U.S. and its NATO allies are taking no chances amid a build-up of military force on Europe's eastern frontier with Russia.

    Three years after the last American tank left Europe, they are being brought back "as part of our commitment to deterrence," Gen. Frederick "Ben" Hodges told NBC News.

    Hodges, who is commander of the U.S. Army in Europe, welcomed a batch of tracked and wheeled support vehicles to a depot in the Netherlands on Thursday.

    At the Dutch installation in Eygelshoven, a 500,000-square-feet storage space — including nine humidity-controlled warehouses — has been made available to house elements of the Army's "strategically prepositioned critical war stock." It includes Abrams tanks, Bradley fighting vehicles and Paladin self-propelled howitzers.

    In September, the U.S. Army began to assemble additional so called Army Prepositioned Stocks (APS) for permanent storage in Europe. The latest shipment includes ammunition.

    The additional combat equipment will give the Army the option for another heavy armored brigade. Presently, it has only two light brigades in Europe: 173rd Airborne Brigade and the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin's government has repeatedly stated that it "will never attack a NATO member state."

    But following the reduction of America's military presence in Europe after the Cold War ended, military officials are now putting structures back into place to guarantee the rapid deployment of U.S. troops in case of crisis.

    "These activities are the embodiment of the United States' commitment to deterring aggression and defending our European allies and partners," Hodges added.

    Russia's recent unannounced military exercises along the borders of the Baltic states and the 2014 annexation of Crimea have "disrupted nearly a generation of relative peace and stability between Moscow and its Western neighbors," according to a RAND Corporation report published earlier this year titled "Wargaming the Defense of the Baltics."

    The study concluded that Russia's military would be capable of overrunning NATO defenses and could reach Baltic capitals including Tallinn, Estonia, and Riga, Latvia, within 60 hours.

    Amid the new threat from the East, U.S. and NATO officials have been preparing for an increased presence across Europe, especially at NATO's eastern borders, "sending a clear message to Russia," officials say.

    "We don't want to risk escalation, but send a message of our commitment," Gen. Tom Middendrop, the Dutch chief of defense said at a ceremony in Eygelshoven on Thursday.

    In January, the U.S. Army in Europe is due to deploy a total of 4,000 American troops and 2,000 military vehicles on a rotational basis to Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and the Baltic nations.

    The U.S. Army's prepositioned stocks, which will eventually be stored at military bases in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, allow it to "reduce deployment timelines, improve its deterrence capabilities and provide additional combat power to U.S. European Command for use in contingency operations," the Pentagon said in a statement.

    The equipment can also be deployed for use in training and exercises.

    The U.S. Army in Europe plans to conduct more than 90 maneuvers with NATO allies and European partners next year, including Swift Response 17 in July which will see U.S.- led and NATO rapid response forces test their readiness to work together.

    For NATO troops, speed has become a critical factor in achieving the alliance's objective of deterrence.

    Combat vehicles at Eygelshoven Army Depot in the Netherlands on Thursday.

    U.S. Army officials say the Swift Response exercise is designed to demonstrate NATO's ability to respond to a crisis "within 18 hours of notification."

    To minimize that reaction time, a U.S.-led battalion will also be stationed in Poland near the border with Russia's Baltic exclave, Kaliningrad, following Moscow's announcement that it will station nuclear-capable missiles there.

    But as an assertive Russia steps up its military presence in the Baltic region at Western Europe's eastern flank, countries including Poland fear what will happen during the Donald Trump era. During the election campaign, the president-elect suggested he might not come to the aid of NATO allies if they were attacked.

    "We hope that the new administration will recognize that Russia is a long-term strategic challenge for the United States and a strategic threat to this part of Eastern Europe," Marcin Terlikowski, head of the International Security Program at the Polish Institute of International Affairs in Warsaw, told NBC News.

    While Eastern European countries "simply do not know what President-elect Trump's Russia policy will be," they are hoping NATO's commitment and the stationing of American troops in the region are "sustainable engagements for the U.S.," Terlikowski added.

    Hodges said Thursday's arrival of combat vehicles should reassure allies.

    "It is in our economic interest that Europe is safe, secure, stable," Hodges told NBC News.

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    Default Re: The Pentagon Is Stuffing Caves in Norway Full of Tanks

    Better to get the kinks worked out now than on the battlefield!

    Note to self: Don't buy any surplus Marine Corp cold weather gear that will probably come down the surplus pipeline soon.

    Good thing I've got my ECWCS system and Mickey Mouse boots already!

    Marines’ Cold Weather Gear Faces Overhaul After Poor Showing in Arctic

    May 12, 2017

    U.S. Marines with Marine Rotational Force-Europe conduct a live-fire range in preparation for Exercise Joint Viking, in Porsangmoen, Norway, on March 1, 2017. Many Marines found their cold-weather gear coming up short during the deployment. Sgt. Patricia A. Morris/Marine Corps

    A hump through the snow-covered sub-freezing moonscape of the Arctic is the wrong time to find out your boots won’t stay latched into your skis.

    But that’s what happened to many troops from Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines, as they completed an extended stretch of cold-weather training in Porsangermoen, nearly 1,000 miles north of their headquarters position here at Vaernes.

    During this first deployment for Marine Rotational Force-Europe, troops spent weeks training and operating in gear they described as badly in need of an overhaul: inflexible zippers, seams that separated and tore, pack frames that snapped, and boots that pulled loose from ski fastenings over and over.

    While none of this gear is new — it’s routinely used by Marines during mountain warfare training at Bridgeport, California, and in previous shorter cold weather exercises — it faces perhaps its most difficult test during this deployment.

    One purpose of the new rotation is to allow Marines to become more accustomed to operating in the cold and snow, and the unit has done exactly that: three weeks of intensive cold-weather training under the supervision of British troops, followed by a week participating in the multilateral training exercise Joint Viking.

    Anticipating that Marines from the rotation would have feedback on the gear, Marine Corps Systems Command flew in more than half a dozen program officers from the command following the three-week Arctic training period to listen to the troops’ criticisms and take notes on how to improve the equipment. They may not have been prepared, however, for the passionate response that greeted them.

    “That was an emotional experience for many people,” said 1st Lt. Sean Gil, commanding officer of Bravo Company’s 3rd Platoon. “The unit had just gotten off of almost continuous field operations, suffering because of, maybe, certain shortcomings in the gear, and they felt like taking it out on the evaluators. I would say we definitely had feedback for them.”

    New Gear Planned

    According to officials at Marine Corps Systems Command, some of the gear that is standard-issue for Marines operating in the cold was already set to be modified or replaced prior to the deployment, and other items may be changed based on evaluation data provided by the deployed troops.

    The command is working to update the All Purpose Environmental Clothing System, or APECS, parka and trousers with secondary closures and more durable zippers to provide redundant closure systems, SYSCOM spokeswoman Barb Hamby told

    The jacket’s zippers tended to rip at the seams when Marines attempted to add more warm layers the way they had been taught, said Staff Sgt. Nelson Acevedo, platoon sergeant for Bravo Company’s 3rd Platoon. In the cold, Marines were instructed to zip down their jackets only three-quarters of the way and slide it off their shoulders in order to add a warming layer underneath, minimizing exposure to the cold and the time spent making the change.

    “The seams were a big focal point,” he said. “They would wear and tear down pretty easily.”

    Hamby said the Corps also plans to adopt gear used by the Army: the lightweight exposure suit and the Gore-Tex extreme cold weather jacket and trousers.

    “Following‎ extensive interviews and surveys with Marines in the field, an analysis of‎ the data is being completed to determine if other modifications need to be made,” she said in a statement provided to

    The current lightweight exposure suit and extreme cold weather parka are the products of collaboration between SYSCOM and Program Executive Office-Soldier, although it’s not clear when Marines will be issued these items. Currently, Marine cold weather gear consists of a Gore-Tex overlayer and a series of base, insulating, and waterproof warming layers, which can be worn in accordance with conditions and the Marine’s preference, Hamby said.

    While every Marine who spoke with had specific criticisms about the gear, the layering concept seems to work well for many.

    “The warming layers and everything did fantastic,” said 1st Lt. Aidan Frombach, commanding officer for Bravo’s 2nd Platoon. “No real complaints.”

    New Skis and Ski Boots

    Officials also say new skis are on the way, and set to be fielded in fiscal 2018. Multiple Marines complained that their skis would not stay attached to their boots, and called the system outdated and frustrating to use.

    “I wouldn’t give anybody that ski setup that we had,” said Acevedo, the platoon sergeant. “When you’re putting your boots into the bindings, because the bindings are metal and the boots are old rubber, they rip a lot. So now you’re potentially causing injuries to the individual from the cold now being able to seep through.”

    The cold-weather boots are designed for static use, he added, but heavy and cumbersome when troops are trying to move and maneuver.

    Staff Sgt. Troy Hauck, platoon sergeant for Bravo’s Weapons Platoon, said he had used all the Marine Corps’ cold weather gear before, as an instructor at the Mountain Warfare Training Center in Bridgeport. It was rewarding, he said, to finally be able to provide feedback and criticism on the gear in a formal way.

    Recently, he said, he sat down with Lt. Gen. John Wissler, commander of Marine Corps Forces Command, and offered his insights on the various items.

    “The Marine Corps needs to adopt a new set of skis — the British have good stuff — and new boots,” he said. “The boots that we currently have are not sufficient to do what we need to do. They’re good for certain things, but skiing around and mobility is not good at all … So better gear, to me, I think will help [Marines] be more proficient and be able to move better in the Arctic environment.”

    Hamby indicated the Corps is aware of the mobility problem with the boots. When the new modernized military ski system is fielded, she said, Marines will no longer use the heavy extreme cold weather boot with their skis. Instead, she said, the new ski system will include a dedicated “ski march” boot.

    “The extreme cold weather boot will continue to be issued to Marines for general use,” she said.

    Snapping Pack Frames

    Of all the gear malfunctions that have affected Marine Rotational Force-Europe troops during cold weather ops, perhaps the most common is plastic internal pack frames that become brittle and snap in the cold.

    1st Lt. Bryan Duffy, the logistics officer for MRF-E, estimated he had had to order about 50 replacement packs for Marines whose issued packs failed when temperatures plummeted. But for those who had packs break in the middle of cold-weather survival training, the only option available was to improvise.

    “We had to use 550 [parachute] cord and duct tape to figure it out,” Hauck said. “It was not fun.”

    As reported in January, SYSCOM is in the process of developing a reinforced pack frame in response to earlier problems that arose during standard infantry training at Camp Pendleton, California, and during previous cold weather exercises in 2015 and 2016.

    SYSCOM sent 40 of the packs to Marines with MRF-E when they deployed in January, with plans to take the gear back and evaluate it for damage and weaknesses after the Marines return from their rotation this summer.

    Hamby said it appears the new prototypes fared much better in the cold than the issued frames.

    “Initial inquiries indicate that few, if any, of the reinforced pack frames failed; however, we will not know for certain until we perform our inspections,” she said.

    Maj. Gen. Niel Nelson, commanding officer of Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa, cast the deployment as a learning opportunity for the Marine Corps, saying the service would fix the gear problems that have been identified.

    “We broke things. We were able to test some of our equipment. We recognize we need to fix it, so we’re going to go fix that stuff,” he told “And that all feeds back into the learning system. Twelve years in the desert, we’re going to learn some different lessons. So we build great things for the desert, but they don’t last in sub-zero temperatures. So that’s a lesson learned that we’re taking back.”

    I will say, I am a bit surprised by the lack of long term effective cold weather gear. My brother told me that even though Afghanistan is in the middle of the Middle East, it gets really damn cold not just at night, as is typical with deserts, but also at altitude of which there is a lot of. And Marines have certainly been operating in Afghanistan for a long time.

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