Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Militarization of the Arctic becomes a concern for the US Navy

The militarization of the Arctic by China, but especially by Russia, once again represents a major security issue, according to the commander of the US Fleet Forces, Admiral Caudle. However, the response to the emergence of these new theaters of conflict can only be to the detriment of other areas of engagement, at least as long as Washington applies the same policy of overprotection of its Western allies, and in particular Europeans.

During the Cold War, the Arctic theater was of strategic importance both for the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, as well as for the United States and NATO. Nuclear submarines from both camps, and especially missile-launching nuclear submarines, frequently crossed paths there, due to the absence of surface assets and maritime patrol aviation.

Furthermore, the Arctic trajectory was for a long time the only possible one for Soviet and American bombers to reach enemy territory. In fact, immense means of detection and interception.

This was particularly the case of the famous American NORAD, which monitored the Arctic skies, as well as numerous deployments of land or naval forces to mark its presence, and prevent the adversary from doing the same.

A new militarization of the Arctic by Russia

With the end of the Cold War, strategic interest in the Arctic waned for a time. With the return of tensions between the Western bloc and Russia, and more recently China, the strategic interest in the Arctic has grown rapidly in recent years.

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The Arctic skies were the site of frequent encounters between American and Soviet fighters and bombers during the Cold War.

It was also exacerbated by the effects of global warming, revealing new commercial and industrial prospects for exploiting this territory.

For American Admiral Daryl Caudle , who commands the US Fleet Forces, this militarization of the Arctic has now reached a level of the most worrying, requiring a coordinated response from the United States and its NATO allies in order to contain the Russian and Chinese military omnipresence observed in this theater.

It is true that since the return of Vladimir Putin to the Russian presidency in 2012, and the subsequent shift in Russian international policy, Moscow has considerably increased its military presence in the Arctic zone , notably with the deployment, or redeployment, of several permanent bases equipped with anti-aircraft and anti-ship systems specially adapted to the harsh climate.

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Fabrice Wolf
Fabrice Wolf
A former French naval aeronautics pilot, Fabrice is the editor and main author of the site. His areas of expertise are military aeronautics, defense economics, air and submarine warfare, and Akita inu.

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