A reader sent me an email asking me about any other military exercises in the same vein as Jade Helm, which got conspiracy theorists running for the bunkers in fear of being placed in FEMA camps. I'm not suggesting that the person who sent me this inquiry is part of that world, but I did find that the military has staged similar large-scale exercises across the country in the past. For those of you who thought this was a prelude to a coup, there's nothing to fear. The monitoring Texas Gov. Greg Abbott demanded didn’t produce much regarding sinister intent, though that was never the goal of his observation to begin with:
The monitoring, as earlier reported by the Express-News, largely amounted to daily briefings from the Guard to the governor’s office from the July 15 start of the exercise until it ended this week.
The briefings were done in person or by phone, not on paper or by email, according to the governor’s office.
Abbott’s deputy chief of staff, Robert Allen, got the pertinent information from Major General Gerald “Jake” Betty, then relayed it to Abbott.
The information, under a process previously described by Abbott’s office, was collected by a group of four to five people who made their observations not in the field but at a joint operations center at Camp Mabry in Austin, in coordination with a military liaison.
Abbott’s letter asking the State Guard to monitor the federal military exercise led to criticism that he was pandering to conspiracy theorists who feared their rights would be curtailed by the federal government.
Of course, it was a military exercise. As The Washington Post reported in March, it’s not the only large-scale exercise the military has conducted:
Consider Bold Alligator, a naval exercise in which thousands of Marines and sailors have been involved in the past. The most recent version was launched last fall, and included amphibious landings to prevent insurgent groups in the fictional country known as Garnet — Georgia and part of Florida in real life — from launching attacks.
In another example, U.S. Special Forces support fictional guerrilla forces in numerous counties across North Carolina in the exercise Robin Sage. Green Beret soldiers work to liberate the country of Pineland, and operate in close proximity to civilians, who are warned that they may hear blank gunfire.
Marine Special Operations troop also have an exercise that is in some ways similar and called Derna Bridge. It spans several counties in western South Carolina, and includes some activities in Sumter National Forest.
So, we can all rest easy that the U.S. military isn’t plotting a coup. Nevertheless, the government is way too big, the current administration occupying the White House is pushing policies (Obamacare, gun control, Iran deal) that most of the country disagrees with, and Congress is toeing the line of another shutdown over Planned Parenthood. I don’t think it’s the military that we need to worry about.