US Army Releases Arctic Strategy: Will Improve Service's Posture in the Region

The US Army Arctic Strategy lays out a strategic and operational approach for Army forces operating in the Arctic as part of the joint force and in conjunction with allies and partners. (U.S. Air Force photo by Alejandro Peña)
The US Army recently completed its new Arctic strategy, laying out how the service can better position itself to operate in the region. The strategy includes plans about establishing an operational two-star headquarters with specially trained and equipped combat brigades. 

"The changes in the geopolitical environment and actions of great power competitors, combined with the evolving physical environment, require the Army to refocus and analyze options to rebuild our Arctic capabilities", the newly released and unclassified version of the US Army Arctic strategy states.

The US Army announced the launch of the the strategy on Tuesday, calling the release timely “especially given increasing levels of great power competitor activities in the Arctic region”. 

Signed by the US Army's Chief of Staff General James C. McConville and Secretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy, the strategy lays out how the Army will generate, train, organize and equip forces to partner with Arctic allies and secure US national interests and maintain regional stability.

Being in line with the US National Security Strategy and the Arctic strategy released by the Department of Defense, the Army strategy describes the Arctic as a region of strategic competition, having the potential to “ become a contested space where the United States’ great power rivals, Russia and China, seek to use military and economic power to gain and maintain access to the region at the expense of US interests.”

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Improve skills and capabilities

Major General Peter Andrysiak, Commander U.S. Army Alaska, recently explained that there is a pivot in the U.S. Army to train and operate more in Alaska in order to rebuild skills lost over the years, as the Army for the past decades has been meeting significant demands around the world.

Titled “Regaining Arctic Dominance”, the new Army strategy identifies several objectives for the service to improve Arctic capability. As part of the strategy, the Army plans to invest in a Multi-Domain Task Force enabled Division headquarters with specially trained and equipped combat brigades to recapture cold-weather capabilities.

The Army will, moreover, improve the materiel readiness of Arctic-capable units in order to conduct extended operations in the Arctic. That includes the provision of equipment for Arctic-capable formations to be able to operate at extreme temperatures for multiple days at a time.

The strategy also addresses the improvement of the quality of life for soldiers, civilians and families who live and work at installations and facilities in the region.

"The Arctic, a vital area containing many of our nation’s natural resources and key shipping channels, is a platform for projecting global power and a possible avenue of attack in conflict. This enhanced Arctic capability will increase the Army’s ability to operate in extreme cold-weather, mountainous and high-latitude environments and supports the DoD’s Arctic Strategy, which was issued in June 2019", the US Army press release states.

The strategy is publishedjust a few months after the US Navy and the US Department of Homland Security released their respective Arctic strategies. In 2020, the US Air Force released its first strategy for the Arctic region.

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