U.S. troops stationed in Norway for the past year were warned on Thursday to be prepared for a coming war.
“I hope I’m wrong, but there’s a war coming,” Gen. Robert Neller told them. “You’re in a fight here, an informational fight, a political fight, by your presence.”
The possibility of Russia and the Pacific theater being the next major areas of conflict has sounded alarms throughout the military a day before Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told troops at Fort Bragg, N.C., that “storm clouds are gathering” over the Korean Peninsula. And tensions are rising between the U.S. and its NATO allies and Russia, according to a Fox News report published on Saturday.
According to Military.com, Russia warned Norway that its decision to host a new unit of U.S. troops through the end of 2018 would negatively affect relations. Norway has countered that hosting U.S. troops is merely part of an effort to enhance ties with NATO allies and conduct cold-weather combat operations. The 300 U.S. Marines deployed to Norway in June 2016 were the first foreign troops allowed to operate in the country since World War II.
“Just remember why you’re here,” Sgt. Maj. Ronald Green told his troops. “They’re watching. Just like you watch them, they watch you. We’ve got 300 Marines up here; we could go from 300 to 3,000 overnight. We could raise the bar.”
At a Q&A session with the troops in the Norwegian Home Guard base near Trondheim, Neller reportedly said that the U.S. “could shift its focus from the Middle East to Eastern Europe, citing Russia’s conflicts with Ukraine and Georgia as justification,” according to the report, which further noted that Neller warned that Marines should be prepared for a “big-ass fight” on the horizon.
A new National Security Strategy unveiled by the Trump administration on Monday singled out Russia and China as two world powers challenging “American power, influence, and interests, attempting to erode American security and prosperity.”
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