Playing cards with the enemy: Russia, China and Iran are wild cards of the new US Army deck


The US Army has launched a new deck of cards for its troops, with drawings of weapons from rival countries. The joker in the deck shows the Russian S-400 air defense system, which can beat several other cards. The goal is to “learn more about the opponents”.

Playing cards is a tradition in the US Army, especially in missions with restrictions on the use of electronic devices or Internet access. To combat boredom, the army now has decks of cards dedicated to Russia, Iran and China.

These are the three countries identified by the Pentagon as “potential adversaries.” The cards apparently have educational purposes: to teach US soldiers the names and capabilities of their opponents’ weapons.

The Russian S-400 air defense system can help US soldiers win a card game. In the new US Army deck, the card with the S-400 drawing – NATO’s SA-21 Growler – is a sort of super joker, capable of winning multiple cards at once.

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The second joker in the deck dedicated to Russia is the Iskander tactical missile system, or SS-26 , and its 9M729 missiles. These missiles were used as a pretext by Washington to withdraw from the short- and medium-range missile reduction agreement, the INF Treaty.

The new decks are a success, with more than 70,000 copies distributed among soldiers in less than six months. Fred Batchelor, director of the intelligence department of the US Army Training and Doctrine Command, says no security clearance is required to obtain the deck.

Batchelor explained that anyone can have these cards and that soldiers do not have to have security clearance, or work in a special division. Everyone can have access to the cards.

This is not the first time the US Army has used cards to educate its soldiers about its rivals: In Iraq, in 2003, Allied forces printed decks with the 55 most wanted Iraqi military. Saddam Hussein was the ace of spades.

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