The Arctic Opens Up
The article "Icy Frontier" in the October 2013 Military Officer magazine outlines the need for the U. S. to become more involved in the Arctic region.
The melting ice could open up the Arctic Ocean to new shipping routes between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans which will cut 4,500 miles off the shipping lanes. The Arctic area contains a vast amount of oil and natural gas to be discovered and processed into energy.
Russia is restoring an old military base on the New Siberian Islands (off eastern Siberia). A garrison is stationed there, and an airfield and naval facilities are under construction. President Putin wants to use the base to enhance Russia's economic and security interests in the Arctic. Russia is also constructing a number of new ports in the Arctic and building nine new icebreakers to supplement 10 existing icebreakers.
The U.S. Navy lacks facilities in Alaska and does not have icebreakers. It has to rely on old USCG icebreakers for support.
The U.S. should evaluate the feasibility of constructing infra-structure in the Arctic and look at the possibility of establishing joint facilities with Canada. We need to bolster our complement of icebreakers.
Donald A. Moskowitz
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