U.S. rotational exercises have been on an upswing in Europe since Russia's occupation of eastern Ukraine and annexation of Crimea in 2014. While exercises have always been essential to the U.S. Air Forces Europe-Africa fabric, in an era of "great power competition," service members shouldn't consider a regional deployment as a homework assignment to turn in once they're done, USAFE's deputy commander said recently. Instead, he said, troops should think about each decision, maneuver and relationship as fitting into a broader framework of fighting as an alliance.
"Take the time to look at how [U.S. allies] do operations and what can we actually learn from them," Air Force Lt. Gen. Steven Basham said. Basham sat down with Military.com during the Paris Air Show last week. "At the same time, don't be afraid to critically analyze, ask those tough questions and say, 'Why do we do it this way?'"