After years of fighting limited conflicts, the U.S. military is reorienting itself to be better prepared for a potential traditional high-end conflict against a nation state adversary with renewed investments in heavy equipment, including armored vehicles and artillery. At the same time, a recent training exercise highlights the fact that any such future fight in Europe, where the most likely opponent would be an increasingly aggressive Russia, will still require a broad mix of capabilities, including special operations forces working together with local forces to harass enemy troops and prevent hostile commandos from infiltrating into friendly areas.
Earlier in March 2018, Special Operations Command, Europe (SOCEUR), which oversees American special operations forces activities in and around the continent, posted a series of images from an exercise in Germany nicknamed Allied Spirit VIII. They show Special Forces soldiers from the U.S. Army National Guard’s 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne) working together with members of the Lithuanian National Defense Volunteer Forces, also known as the Krašto Apsaugos Savanorių Pajėgos or KASP. The tactics on display reflect a guerrilla warfare playbook straight out of a Cold War movie such as Red Dawn.