Pointing towards the near future possibility of Russia and the Pacific theater being the next major areas of conflict, a US Marine Corps commandant warned troops station in Norway to be prepared for a coming war.
As Military.com reports, the stated goals of the Marine Corps' newest rotational force in Norway are to enhance partnerships with European allies and improve the service's ability to fight in cold weather.
But on a brief visit to the 300-member unit ahead of Christmas, the commandant and the sergeant major of the Marine Corps both described the strategic role the small unit fills -- and the fact that a peacetime mission can be preface to combat if circumstances change.
“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.”
Fox News writes that Neller pointed to the near future possibility of Russia and the Pacific theater being the next major areas of conflict.
Sgt. Maj. Ronald Green sounded a similar tone.
"Just remember why you're here," Green said.
"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."
The warnings came a day before Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told troops at Fort Bragg, N.C., that "storm clouds are gathering" over the Korean Peninsula.
At a Q&A session with the troops in the Norwegian Home Guard base near Trondheim, Neller 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.
He told the Marines that they should be prepared for a “big-ass fight” on the horizon.