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AUSA 2022: Lack of US Army Arctic progress questioned

The US Marine Corps participated in Exercise 'Cold Response 2022' in Arctic Norway. (Janes/Michael Fabey)

With the establishment in late September of the Pentagon Arctic Strategy and Global Resilience Office and continued investment by the US Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force in higher-latitude operations, questions are being raised about the US Army's commitment to develop a greater regional presence there.

“The army isn't investing in Arctic capabilities,” Bryan Clark, Hudson Institute senior fellow, told Janes on 3 October in advance of the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) 2022 Annual Meeting and Exposition. “The navy, air force, and marines have all been doing that to various degrees, but the army has been slow to field Arctic-capable systems.”

In establishing its Arctic Strategy and Global Resilience Office on 27 September, the Pentagon noted in a statement, “The United States is an Arctic power, and the defence department has established an office to ensure US strategy and policy protects US interests in that crucial region.”

The Pentagon also established a new position to oversee the office – Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Arctic and Global Resilience Iris A Ferguson, who assumed that position, said during an online briefing that the Arctic is a critical region for power projection and also for homeland defence.

US military services have been training for the Arctic and investing in equipment for higher-latitude operations. For example, the US Marine Corps participated in Exercise ‘Cold Response 2022' this year in Arctic Norway.

The army has taken some steps intended to develop a better Arctic force, particularly since releasing its Arctic strategy, ‘Regaining Arctic Dominance', in March 2021.

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