In their latest war game exercise, US troops in Europe are focusing on more of a Cold War scenario with an old familiar foe, the Russians as their potential enemy.

The US military needs to be better prepared for the increasing threats across all phases of warfare, land, sea, air, space and cyber said Air Force BG John Healy, who directs training exercises for US forces in Europe.

Some smaller-scale war games with a global focus had already occurred, but the goal was to carry out more challenging exercises by fiscal year 2020 that involved forces from all nine U.S. combatant commands – instead of focusing on specific regions or one military service, such as the Marines.

“What we’re eventually going toward is a globally integrated exercise program so that we (are) … all working off the same sheet of music in one combined global exercise,” Healy said in an interview this week.

He said war games and training were imperative to rehearse for possible conflicts and they needed to reflect the global nature of today’s military threats, including cyber warfare.

Healy said Russia was his main focus in Europe, and officials were keeping a close watch on Moscow’s Zapad military exercises that begin next month and which experts say could involve about 100,000 troops.

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While the US and coalition forces have invited Russian observers to both US and NATO exercises in the Black Sea region, the Russians have not invited any western observers for their planned exercises. The Russian Zapad military exercise reportedly will involve less than 13,000 troops, therefore doesn’t require an invitation to observe the war games.

US officials argue that the Russians aren’t being as transparent as the United States and other NATO nations are.

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