Monday, August 27, 2018

U.S. 2nd Fleet Reactivated - Preparing For Arctic Warfare

US 2nd Fleet Reactivated, Preparing For Arctic Warfare With "Bad Actors"

Following a sharp increase in Russian naval activity in the arctic and North Atlantic, the Trump administration has reactivated Navy's 2nd Fleet to deal with "bad actors on the world's stage," according to Vice Adm. Andrew "Woody" Lewis, who took command of the reestablished forces. 

In a Friday ceremony aboard the aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush, Lewis warned of foreign adversaries who intend to undermine American dominance, referring to (but not naming) Russia - which has vast military assets in the Arctic Circle, a region estimated to contain 15% of the world's remaining oil and up to 30% of natural gas deposits. 
There are some bad actors on the world’s stage,” Lewis told the crowd. “We call them competitors in our strategic documents. They intend to undermine and rewrite the order that America established at the end of world war II and threaten the very birthright freedoms that we hold sacred.” -Navy Times
“Second Fleet has a storied history and we’ll honor that legacy,” Lewis told those in attendance. “However, we will not simply pick up where we left off. We are going to aggressively and quickly rebuild this command into an operational warfighting organization. We will challenge assumptions, recognize, our own vices and learn and adapt from our own failures in order to innovate and build a fleet that’s ready to fight.”
The 2nd Fleet's boundaries will extend "well past the old submarine stomping grounds of the Cold War into waters north of Scandinavia and the Arctic Circle," near the submarine headquarters of Russia's Northern Fleet, according to John Richardson, Chief of Naval Operations. 

Russia's arctic forces
The Kremlin, meanwhile, has been increasing their presence in the Arctic region over the last several years - deploying submarines and other assets on a permanent basis. "In the future, we plan to further increase our presence in the Arctic region [as] a matter of national state security," Russian Rear Admiral Viktor Kochemazov told Russian newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda in 2017. Kochemazov is the head of the combat training department of the Russian Navy. 
"Along with the modernization and construction of the new submarines, work is underway to create sophisticated submarine-based weapon systems," Kochemazov said, referring to the Kalibr and Oniks missile systems capable of destroying both sea and ground targets.

In 2015, Business Insider reported on Russia's increasing northern presence, warning that the Kremlin is "positioning itself to become the dominant player in a resource-rich and strategically positioned region.

Moscow has plans to open ten Arctic search-and-rescue stations, 16 deep-water ports, 13 airfields and 10 air defense radar stations across the Arctic. Once construction is completed, it will "permit the use of larger and more modern bombers," according to NYU Russia expert Mark Galeotti. 
"By 2025, the Arctic waters are to be patrolled by a squadron of next-generation stealthy PAK DA bombers." 
In other words, the Trump administration is simply keeping up with the Joneskis after Obama balked in the face of rapid Russian expansion. 

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