(CNSNews.com) – The U.S. may be troubled by Russian support for Syria’s Assad regime, freedom of expression violations and politically motivated prosecutions, but military-to-military cooperation continues, in line with the administration’s so-called “reset” of relations with the Kremlin.
For the third summer in a row, Russian Air Force personnel will join their American and Canadian counterparts in a joint counter-terror exercise beginning Monday, simulating a cooperative response to an aircraft hijacked by terrorists in international airspace.
Exercise “Vigilant Eagle” involves Russian, U.S. and Canadian personnel operating from command centers in the U.S. and Russia.
It is one of several exercises and exchanges agreed upon in a July 2009 agreement – an early product of the “reset” – signed by then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen and his Russian counterpart, Gen. Nikolai Makarov, restoring joint activities that were halted by the Bush administration in response to the Russian invasion of Georgia in August 2008.
A statement by North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) said the Aug. 27-29 exercise will simulate an international flight “originating in Alaska and traveling into Russian airspace followed by one originating in Russia and traveling into the U.S. airspace.”
Other initiatives to come out of the 2009 U.S.-Russia agreement included strategic discussions between U.S. Joint Staff and Russian General Staff, orientation for Russian military cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, other military academy faculty visits and a naval war game.
U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission