The US Navy and Marines are beginning their largest amphibious exercise in 40 years on August 3. The Large Scale Exercise 2021 (LSE) drill will span 17 time zones and conclude on August 16.
LSE is similar in scale to military exercises conducted during the Cold War in the 1980s, the US Naval Forces Europe-Africa/US 6th Fleet said in a statement.
The exercise comes as America attempts to strengthen the country’s defenses against attacks on communication systems following a recent war game that “failed miserably” and laid bare a number of vulnerabilities within the US Army.
“LSE will test our commanders across the spectrum of naval warfare from the tactical to the strategic, integrating the Marine Corps to demonstrate the worldwide fleet’s ability to conduct coordinated operations from the open ocean to the littoral,” US 6th Fleet Commander Vice Adm. Gene Black said.
Notice to Adversaries
Analysts perceive Large Scale Exercises 2021 as a message from the United States to Russia and China that it can handle a simultaneous response to aggression on multiple fronts.
According to James R. Holmes from the US Naval War College, LSE serves as a reminder to US adversaries that it can take on any challenge, be it in the Black Sea, eastern Mediterranean Sea, South China Sea, or the East China Sea, he told Stars and Stripes.
However, it is unclear if Moscow or Beijing see the exercise that way, or if they will even pay attention to it at all, said the former naval officer. Regardless, LSE will test US operational methods and technologies designed to continue fighting after taking a loss, he added.
At least 36 ships and 50 virtual units will participate in the exercise. Military, contract personnel, and civilians will also take part, as well as the 6th Fleet flagship the USS Mount Whitney. While the exercise only includes US forces, future drills are planned to involve allied forces as well.