Climate change forcing the Navy north to defend the Arctic ocean
As the landscape of the Arctic circle changes, the U.S. Navy is adapting its force projection capabilities to the cold North.
While the Arctic has primarily been the turf of the U.S. Army and Air Force, the Navy is once again training for sea dominance in the frigid waters.
“You see the shrinking of the polar ice cap, opening of sea lanes, more traffic through those areas,” said Rear Admiral Daniel Dwyer, commander of the USS Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group that recently sailed to Alaska. “It’s the Navy’s responsibility to protect America through those approaches.”
The Theodore Roosevelt remained incredibly busy during the Arctic-themed exercises, launching fighters as quickly as she was recovering them.
“We are catching anywhere from six to 25 aircraft on this recovery,” one flight deck officer said. “I’m not sure yet [how many]. If they show up on the ball, we’re gonna catch ’em.”
According to NPR, changes to the ice formations mean that natural resources like gas, minerals and fish stocks are becoming more accessible, bringing “competing sovereignty claims” with aggressive nations such as Russia and China.
“If you’re gonna be a neighbor, you have to be in the neighborhood,” said Vice Adm. John Alexander, commander of the Navy’s 3rd Fleet.
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