Plans for a 17-city Army Special Operations exercise in Texas stirred some ultra-right-wing fears of a government takeover in the Lone Star State, but local law enforcement say they've long been aware of the drill.
Operation Jade Helm will bring a coalition of forces, including the Green Berets, SEALS, and special operations commands from the Air Force and Marines to Texas for two months of "realistic military training" in a simulated "hostile" territory between July and September this summer.Army Special Operation Command spokesman Mark Lastoria said soldiers would practice "emerging concepts in special operations warfare" in Texas.
"Training exercise Jade Helm is going to assist our Special Operations Soldiers in refining the skills needed against an ever changing foreign threat," he said.Among the planned exercises, soldiers will try to operate undetected amongst civilian populations in some towns and cities where residents will be advised to report any suspicious activity they notice as a means of testing the military's effectiveness, said county law enforcement officials who had been briefed by the Army.
"They're going to set up cells of people and test how well they're able to move around without getting too noticed in the community," said Roy Boyd, chief deputy with the Victoria County Sheriff's Office. "They're testing their abilities to basically blend in with the local environment and not stand out and blow their cover."