Russia Shows Its Reach

Russian forces have shown they’re “very good” at pinpointing and hitting targets inside Syria from long distances, Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work said Wednesday at a Washington Post event. Work said the Pentagon is just beginning its analysis of Russia’s capabilities displayed while assisting Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s regime, but the Russian forces have already demonstrated their ability to use battlefield intelligence, electronic warfare, cyber, and communication intercepts to find opposition targets. And for the first time, Work said, the Russians have coordinated real-world attacks using sea- and air-launched cruise missiles and ground-launched ballistic missiles. The intended targets haven’t been the only casualties though. “We worry about civilian casualties every single time we employ a weapon,” Work said. “The Russians have a different strategy. Their target is where the bomb lands. So they don’t use the discrimination that we do. And they don’t use as much guided munitions as we do, and as a result, they cause a lot more civilian casualties than the [Operation Inherent Resolve] coalition does.”