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.