The US Coast Guard and Canadian and Russian Forces are getting up to speed for Arctic operations.
The Coast Guard is conducting limited operations in the Arctic this summer to see what needs to be done, and to learn how to do it: US Coast Guard deploys to Arctic to find answers (AP via Anchorage Daily News, June 23).
"We're going up there to build a requirements list for what we might need in the future," Webber said [Lt. Cmdr. Michelle Webber of the 17th Coast Guard District - Ben]. "We're going to identify any obstacles we have up there, and it's going to test the ability of our communication equipment to operate in the area."
Among this summer's deployments:
Webber will be in charge of an exercise to deploy about 36 Coast Guardsmen to Barrow. They will bring a couple of 25-foot boats and a couple of HH-65 Dolphin helicopters....
The Coast Guard also is deploying a C-130 to Nome for the summer.
"From Nome, we can reach the maritime boundary line with Russia a lot easier than deploying out of the air station in Kodiak," Webber said. "That basically gives us a lot longer time on the maritime boundary line."
From Aug. 14 to 19, the Coast Guard also will deploy its maritime safety and security team to Prudhoe Bay [just an exercise - Ben]....
The cutter Healy will return to the Arctic to conduct bottom mapping, just as it did last summer.
"They're primarily a science mission this year, but we'll have some limited interaction with them," Webber said. "They'll also be available to do search and rescue and some law enforcement."
Canadian Forces learned quite a bit during an Arctic warfare course last March: Warfare course shows Canadian military still struggling in Arctic (Seattle PI, June 22):
Internal assessments released to The Canadian Press of a Canadian Forces advanced winter warfare course last March in Resolute, Nunavut, depict a military still learning the basics of working in the North and vulnerable to challenges that extreme weather can bring....
Mistakes... were made even before the soldiers and equipment arrived.
Snowmobiles were drained of gas on the flight up to save weight. But that allowed condensation to form inside the gas tanks, which caused the machines to repeatedly stall as water in their fuel lines froze in Resolute's severe sub-freezing temperatures.
Soldiers had to boil water, pour it over the frozen sections and try to get the machine going before the hot water turned to ice as well....
Boots, headgear, gloves, foods, and entrenching equipment all needed rethinking.
The Russians are looking north too: Russia plans to hold military exercises in Arctic (WTOP News, June 24).
A senior Russian general says Russia will conduct military exercises in the Arctic to uphold the country's claim to the region's vast natural resources.
Gen. Vladimir Shamanov, in charge of military training at Russia's Defense Ministry, also said planning for the exercises began after several nations disputed Russia's Arctic claims.
"Modern wars are won or lost long before they start," Shamanov told the military daily Krasnaya Zvezda in an interview published Tuesday.
He noted that 5,000 U.S. troops were involved in the Northern Edge military exercise in Alaska last month....
Revised June 28.