The South Dakota National Guard’s 28th annual Golden Coyote training exercise, which began on June 9 in Rapid City and the southern Black Hills, includes military contingents from Australia, Canada, Denmark, New Zealand, Suriname, and the U.K.
The two-week training exercise, “in a realistic training environment,” according to the Defense Department, supports both overseas contingency operations and homeland defense. There are also 37 units representing 17 states participating in Golden Coyote, and I suppose for them, it is preparation for combat. The Rapid City Journal reports that Golden Coyote “re-create the stress of combat and mixture of civilian, tourist and wildlife populations soldiers encounter in war theaters such as Iraq and Afghanistan, all while training with foreign soldiers.”
It used to be quite rare and even noteworthy when foreign military training took place on American soil. Of course there were always exceptions, like regular German Air Force pilot training in the American southwest, and aviation training associated with the Red Flag exercise series has come to include regular NATO and U.S. allied participants. In July, as an example, F-16 from the United Arab Emirates and KFIRs from Colombia will participate in Red Flag 12-4 in Nevada.
So do they really mean homeland defense when they describe one of the training objectives of Golden Coyote? Do they mean that somehow it is important to have multinational partners, even Canada, to train for the military defense of the United States?
I’m agnostic one way or another on this, but it seems to me that this entire subject, bearing upon command and sovereignty and foreign policies, bears greater scrutiny.