Newsletter: The USA Strengthens Its Army in the Arctic

1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division

Soldiers from 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, one of two brigade combat teams who would be most impacted by the redesignation. (Photo: Staff Sgt. Mylinda DuRousseau, 1/25 SBCT Public Affairs).

Dear High North News reader! The USA’s Arctic Army is upgrading to operate in the Arctic, while Finland and Sweden have taken their respective first steps towards NATO.

U.S. Army Alaska is upgrading to operate better in the High North.

This will be an Arctic Airborne Division, which is unique in our army”, says Major General Brian Eifler, who is currently in the inland areas in Troms, Norway.

He says to HNN that the USA now sees a need for Arctic capacities in its army and that the US Army Alaska now makes major changes in order to operate better in the High North.

These news came at the same time as Finland and Sweden have applied for NATO membership. Their actions are supported by a unified group of Nordic countries, including the Finnish people.

On the High North Tour, our Editor-in-Chief Arne O. Holm met Finnish Katarina Turunen, who lives just a very few miles from the Russian border. Something she never really thought about until now. Today, she welcomes Finnish NATO membership.

The Swedish PM made it clear that Sweden has no interest in remaining outside the NATO alliance as the only country in the Nordic region, and Swedens foreign minister referred to the event as a historic day for Sweden.

Militarization and famine

In this week’s Friday commentary, Holm focuses on the destroying and far-reaching consequences of Russia and Putin’s war against Ukraine, referring to it as “a kind of madness that hits the world far beyond the reach of their respective missiles”.

The war leads to large-scale militarization of the Arctic, as well as to extreme famine further south. The former without opposition, the latter without any solution”. 

Climate and cooperation

And while the sanctions against Russia can be increasingly felt, Norway directs its gaze towards the EU.

“The Green Shift will be the new engine in the Arctic”, Norwegian Climate and Environment Minister Espen Barth Eide (Labor) says to High North News. Now, the Norwegian government wants to enter into dialogue about the EU’s ban on exploiting oil and gas in the Arctic.

Companies in Norway keep supplying smolt and fish feed to Russian fish-farming companies.

This week, two well-boats entered Russian waters to service their Russian customers.

At the same time, the ocean-going fishing fleet in Northern Norway reacts strongly to a new Russian military exercise at sea in the Barents Sea.

And despite talk of an alternative to the Arctic Council, USA’s Arctic Coordinator confirms to HNN that there are no plans to change the structure or membership of the Council.

The HNN's editorial staff wishes you all the best for the weekend!

Trine Jonassen, News Editor

This newsletter was originally written in Norwegian and has been translated by HNN's Elisabeth Bergquist.