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US using Ukraine conflict to train own troops – media

Two training centers in the US are fielding experiments based on data gathered in Ukraine, Defense One claims

The US is preparing its troops for future wars by examining the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine and fielding its own experiments based on experience gained from that battlefield, Defense One reported on Thursday.

The National Training Center (NTC) in California and the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) are training US service members to use drones, electronic surveillance, and satellites and combine them with artillery strikes, according to commanders who spoke with the outlet.

At the same time, troops are learning to conceal themselves from enemy drones and surveillance. “The thing we struggle the most with is this business of a transparent battlefield,” Brigadier General Curtis Taylor, the head of the NTC, told the outlet. He explained that his center has been teaching soldiers to hide from UAVs in buildings and minimize the use of communication equipment. Meanwhile, the JRTC has reportedly been pushing units to simplify their command posts to be put up and taken down quickly. 

Based on the way warfare is being conducted in Ukraine, the US Army is also stepping up its use of artillery and drones. Taylor says troops playing the “opposing force,” or OPFOR, at the NTC are now conducting roughly 100 simulated artillery attacks daily, amounting to several thousand rounds being fired.

Both the NTC and JRTC are also teaching how to operate swarms of commercial drones, some of which can drop bombs akin to those used in Ukraine today. The centers noted, however, that they have chosen not to use loitering munitions or suicide drones, stating that they pose a safety risk.

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Defense One noted that the increased use of artillery, rockets, and surveillance at the training centers has resulted in higher casualties in the simulated exercises, which mirror the losses suffered by troops in Ukraine. Taylor was quoted as saying that artillery now accounts for some 40% of battlefield fatalities and injuries. 

Last month, the US Army War College also published an article in its quarterly journal ‘Parameters’ suggesting that Washington should consider re-introducing partial conscription if it hopes to succeed in future wars, noting that the concept of an all-volunteer force “has reached obsolescence.”

According to the article, army theater medical planners anticipate that, given the casualty rate in Ukraine, the US could sustain as many as 50,000 casualties in just two weeks if it fought a country like Russia. For context, that number is what US forces suffered over two decades of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.

Meanwhile, Moscow has repeatedly accused the US and its allies, which have spent billions of dollars supporting Kiev, of using the Ukraine crisis to wage a “proxy war” against Russia and turning the battlefield into a testing ground for Western military equipment. That’s as the Pentagon and the UK’s former defense secretary have described Ukraine as a “battle lab” and a “military innovation laboratory.”

September 29, 2023 at 08:05PM

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