U.S., Russia, and the Arctic

Posted March 30, 2016 at 5:06am

The Week reports that “Two weeks ago, in the quiet of an Arctic ice field, something unusual happened: A 360-foot-long nuclear submarine broke through the thick ice and surfaced. The USS Hartford, part of the Atlantic Fleet, pushed through the ice, its conning tower standing like a black monument in a vast landscape of blinding white.”  

“It wasn’t alone. Nearly two dozen U.S. military personnel, parachuted and flown in by helicopter from bases in Alaska, were waiting for the Hartford to make its grand entrance. The entire scene was part of ICEX 2016, or Ice Exercise 2016, designed to prepare the U.S. military to fight north of the Arctic Circle.”  

“The Arctic has traditionally been a low military priority for everyone. Its climate, particularly during the winter, makes it unfriendly to human life. The prevalence of ice and lack of dry land makes stationing forces there difficult. Military outposts are generally limited to arctic research, early warning, and meteorological stations.”