The Pentagon last week announced a series of bilateral exercises in the Baltic region intended to reassure the region of “NATO’s resolve” in light of Russian aggression in Ukraine. The first exercise, Spring Storm, kicked off early last week between US Special Operations Forces and their Estonian counterparts, said Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren in a May 8 release. Despite promises from Russia’s President Vladimir Putin to pull back Russian forces from the Ukrainian border, there has been no change in Russian posture, added Warren. The other two exercises, Flaming Sword and Namejs, will be held in the next two months. In addition, US and Estonian special ops forces will join Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Finland, Norway, and Sweden in joint training exercises over the next two months to continue to strengthen the region against Russian threats and allow US forces to improve language and tactical skills with region allies.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.