For more than a decade, the Army’s air and missile defense soldiers have lacked a regular, large-scale opportunity to train their missile systems, moving them like they would in a real-world fight.

But that changed this month, when over the past two weeks, more than 1,800 soldiers converged by truck, air and rail at White Sands Missile Range and Fort Bliss, Texas, on an area the size of Rhode Island, to shoot, move, communicate and sustain over distances of more than 100 kilometers.

The last time this exercise, known as Roving Sands, was conducted was in 2005.

Roving Sands was a regular training event from 1989 through the early 2000s. It even was used as preparation for Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm.

Roving Sands is a large scale Army Air Missile Defense exercise that allows soldiers to practice their skills at operational ranges that isn't possible at the combat training centers. This is the first such exercise since 2005. (Army)
Roving Sands is a large scale Army Air Missile Defense exercise that allows soldiers to practice their skills at operational ranges that isn't possible at the combat training centers. This is the first such exercise since 2005. (Army)

While those involved in the exercise declined to discuss any specific adversary, regular Congressional testimony in recent years has signaled missile overmatch concerns with Russia in Europe, the growing ballistic missile threat of North Korea’s military, and missile defenses being built in Iran.