NATO is getting its big guns ready to 'fight tonight' with military drills in Russia's backyard

General curtis m. scaparrottiDoD photo by D. Myles CullenArmy Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti speaks after assuming command of NATO’s Allied Command Operations from Air Force Gen. Philip M. Breedlove in Mons, Belgium, May 4, 2016.

On May 4, Army Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti assumed command of NATO’s Allied Command Operations from Air Force Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, who retired after 39 years of service.

Upon taking his post Scaparrotti wasted no time in stressing the importance of a ready, agile force that could “fight tonight” against a “resurgent” and threatening Russia.

Indeed Russia has engaged in propping up Syrian Dictator Bashar Al-Assad, had Russian planes fly aggressively towards US ships and planes, and threatened military retribution should Finland join NATO.

In response, the US is leading a series of military drills in Russia’s backyard to increase readiness should Russia cross the line.

Among these exercises are Dragon Pioneer in Moldova, and Noble Partner in Georgia. Additionally, the US Army has performed it’s first Sealift exercise in 15 years.

In the slides below, see how the US and NATO are increasing military readiness to deter Russian aggression.

Here's a video of US armoured vehicles rolling out in Moldova for Dragon Pioneer 16.

Here's a photo of the first M1A2 Abrams tank ever deployed to Georgia.

The first US M1A2 Battle Tank to deploy to Georgia offloads at the Georgian port of Poti, May 4, and will travel to the Vaziani Training Area for Noble Partner 16.

From the US Army: 'Noble Partner 16, which is scheduled to take place May 11 to 26 and will include approximately 1300 participants from the US, Georgia and the UK. The exercise is a reoccurring training event that takes place at Vaziani Training Area, Georgia.'

Here are a few Bradley tanks getting ready to roll out for Noble Partner 16.

The last Bradley fighting vehicles exit the ship May 4 and will travel to the Vaziani Training Area for Noble Partner 16.

Meanwhile, in Jacksonville Florida, the US Army took part in Sealift Emergency Deployment Readiness Exercise (SEDRE), the first such exercise for the US Army in 15 years.

Photo: Staff Sgt. Joel Salgado/Army
A soldier from 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division watches a Humvee pull an M119A3 Howitzer onto the U.S. Naval Ship Benevidez for the brigade's Sealift Emergency Deployment Readiness Exercise.

The goal of SEDRE is to get US Army forces ready to mobilize in a moment's notice. The logistics are challenging, as the many pieces of Army hardware are awkwardly shaped and very heavy, but mobility is key.

'With an organisation being able to pick-up … get ready to go to war -- or any type of contingency where equipment and personnel are needed -- readiness is key. That is why exercises like the SEDRE are so important to the warfight and the warfighter,' Army Capt. David Wallace said of the exercise.

The SEDRE exercise, along with drills and coordination in Easter Europe will help the US and NATO establish a capable, inter operable, and ready force to protect democracies.

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