Why America Is Training Anti-Hybrid Warfare Militias to Deter Russia

Why America Is Training Anti-Hybrid Warfare Militias to Deter Russia

David Axe

Security, Europe


A clever plan.

Key point: The Baltics need irregulars in case their conventional forces are overrun.

U.S. Army soldiers have been training militia troops from the Baltic states in order to help them resist Russian occupation in the event Russia makes a land-grab west of its current border.

Special Forces from the active Army as well as from the West Virginia National Guard recently completed the first “irregular and unconventional warfare training iteration” for the Polish Territorial Defense Forces and the Latvian Zemmessardze.

The training was part of the Ridge Runner program in West Virginia, Army officials told Army Times reporter Kyle Rempfer.

Mountainous West Virginia “is the perfect venue for our highly-trained Special Forces to help these two nations’ military forces develop the skills vital to their mission at home, which is extraordinarily important in this era of geo-political uncertainty,” U.S. Army major general James Hoyer, adjutant general of the West Virginia National Guard, said in a statement.

“This summer, [troops from] Latvia and Poland traveled to West Virginia for the program,” Rempfer wrote. “Both nations have newly invigorated homeland defense forces capable of pushing back against an invading force and opposing a potential occupation.”

The units are trained to provide response during the early stages of a hybrid conflict. Their tasks could include slowing the advancing units of an aggressor nation by destroying key transportation infrastructure such as bridges, attacking enemy forces at choke-points and potentially serving as forward observers for NATO aircraft responding with air strikes.

Polish Territorial Defense Forces, for instance, typically have a role similar to that of the U.S. National Guard, supporting local communities and acting as a reserve base for conventional forces.

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