“Is the US Losing the Fight for Arctic Dominance?” –Military.com

Military.Com’s  4 Jan., 2021 podcast, “Left of Boom,” has an interview with RAdm. Matthew Bell, Commander District 17, Is the US Losing the Fight for Arctic Dominance? | Military.com

It is a little over a half hour. If you don’t want to listen to the podcast, an edited transcript is provided. Just continue to scroll down below the audio (an unusual and appreciated addition).

Don’t think there are any real surprises here, but the discussion does remind us of how large the area is, how little infrastructure there is, and how few Coast Guard units are in the area.

When I was assigned to Midgett, we medivaced a South Korean fishermen. A purse seine wire had parted and, whipping across the deck. It took off a leg. We sailed to meet them well out the Bering Sea. Used our helicopter to bring him to the ship and then turned toward Dutch Harbor trying to get close enough to transport by helo to a hospital there. We lost him during the night still many hours from the launch point. 

The other things that stands out for me, are the importance of subsistence hunting and fishing and the cooperative relationship with the Russian Border Guard.

Thanks to the reader who brought this to my attention. Sorry I lost track of who it was.

2 thoughts on ““Is the US Losing the Fight for Arctic Dominance?” –Military.com

  1. I used to work in Alaska and most people do not understand the vastness and the weather problems, several times spent up to a week waiting for the weather to break so I could get out of a processing plant, need an ambulance, 650 mile medivac and there were places much worse. Weather? Saw 100mph winds several times, tear the siding off a building or pick up shipping pallets and fling them through the air like you or I would throw a plain dinner plate.

    The problem mentioned above is just the tip of the iceberg so to speak,

    Glad we are waking up a bit

  2. I have to agree with Captain Mike. In communicating with Canadians and those in Alaska, they have the perception and attitude that the temperature is SO COLD and the vast area SO REMOTE that no other nation wants to invade and conquer. They don’t fear invasion and don’t give much into the notion of CONUS defense even if they go hunting and possess firearms.

    The problem is that the Russians are well-adapted to the extreme cold too and have heavier armament in the Arctic, and along with the Chinese, have the desire for mineral wealth.

    The Military.com’s photo is perfect in visual summary and shows how limited the USA is in Arctic Defense…one icebreaker, a Stryker Brigade, and some foot soldiers and Marines. There isn’t a USA gun heavier than a .50cal in some places as USAF airpower will have to “Rescue the day.”

    The US Navy and USCG need a better and constant Arctic presence, even if it means some small ice-strengthened Corvettes, or OPVs, or armed Seaplanes. Hopefully the Mobile Protected Firepower Light Tank can add some ground firepower to USA Arctic Defense.

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