JUST IN: Army Looking to Base More Operational Forces in Arctic Region
Army photo by Sgt. Edward Eagerton
The U.S. Army wants to increase its presence in the Arctic region and create new units capable of operating there, the service's top officer said Jan. 19.
“We're looking at establishing a multi-domain task force in the region, and we're looking at establishing an Arctic-capable brigade,” Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville said during a webinar hosted by the Association of the United States Army. “Optimizing the employment of our forces and being able to demonstrate our capabilities through combined exercises and power projection are critical," he added.
To this end, the service is looking to transform an existing two-star headquarters into an operational headquarters, he said.
The Army recently completed its new Arctic strategy aimed at providing its forces with the capabilities necessary to compete and deter conflict in the region, he noted. The document has not yet been publicly released.
The Army isn't the only U.S. military service focusing on the northern latitudes. Earlier this month, the Department of the Navy released its strategic blueprint for operating in the Arctic. Last year, the Department of the Air Force unveiled its vision for how the Air Force and Space Force plan to organize, train and equip to provide combatant commanders with capabilities that will enable them to conduct operations there.
The Defense Department previously released an overarching Arctic strategy in 2019 focused on enabling the military to defend the United States' interests in the region, which it deemed critical to homeland security.
Climate change and melting sea ice are opening up shipping lanes and providing greater access to resources in the Arctic. Russia and China, which the Pentagon views as great power competitors, are beefing up their presence the region. Russia in particular has been enhancing its military infrastructure including refurbished airfields, new military bases and a network of air-defense systems.
“We certainly have national interests ... up in the Arctic,” McConville said. “As the situation changes up there and there is more freedom of movement, we certainly want to make sure that we protect our interests there.”
Topics: Army News