Behind closed doors the U.S. government is giving Russia free military equipment—also used to train American troops—even after President Obama announced punitive sanctions against Moscow and, more importantly, a suspension in military engagement over the invasion and occupation of Ukraine.
The secret operation was exposed this week by members of Congress that discovered it in the process of reviewing the Fiscal Year 2014 budget and the proposed Fiscal Year 2015 budget request. It turns out that the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has been providing the Russian Federation with the Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System (MILES), the federal legislators say. The U.S. military uses MILES for tactical force-on-force training because it has a system of lasers and dummy ammunition to simulate ground combat.
It’s a crucial, military-grade technology that’s similar to a “laser tag” available in some commercial markets, according to one of the outraged lawmakers (Oklahoma Republican Jim Bridenstine) that helped uncover the scandal. Bridenstine, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, has joined forces with Ohio Republican Mike Turner, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces, to demand an end to the program. Along with about a dozen other House colleagues they penned a letter to Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, who oversees the agency carrying out the “irresponsible military equipment transfers” to Russia.
The Obama administration’s planned supply to the Russian Federation is a grave mistake given the recent invasion of Ukraine launched by Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin, the legislators point out. “It is difficult to imagine a worse time to provide military-grade technology employed by the U.S. Marine Corps, Army, and Special Operations Forces to Russia than when it has illegally invaded Ukraine and is violating the intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty,” the letter to Moniz says. “To make matters worse, it is our understanding from the budget documents that the Department has been, and continues to propose, providing this technology to Russia free-of-charge.”
This is preposterous and borders on criminal if you really think about it. As if we need reminding, Congressman Turner recants Putin’s “brazen disregard for the sovereignty and stability of Eastern Europe” as well as his disregard for international law. “Despite this overwhelming evidence that Putin is not our ally, it is astonishing that the Obama Administration would still provide superior, U.S. military technology to an aggressive and advancing Russia,” Turner said. “The United States must seriously redirect its approach and immediately terminate all military aid to Russia.”
President Obama has already proven to be an international joke for his response to the worsening crisis in Ukraine. Even the mainstream media in this country has blasted the commander-in-chief’s foreign policy as based on fantasy. One famously liberal magazine published a satirical article saying that the Obama administration froze Putin’s Netflix account as a “major ramping up of sanctions.” In a piece published a few days ago, a former veteran congressman wrote this: “The embarrassment of U.S. impotence in dealing with Russian aggression in the Ukraine is only the beginning of what will likely be a series of foreign policy disasters.”