“Nordic Allies Help Navy Improve Ship Ops in Icy Waterways as Arctic Competition Heats Up” –Military.com

http://www.state.gov/e/oes/ocns/opa/arc/uschair/258202.htm . This map of the Arctic was created by State Department geographers as part of the U.S. Chairmanship of the Arctic Council.

Military.com has a report on the Navy’s increased activity above the Arctic Circle, at least on the Atlantic side. (Still have not seen much from PACFLT.) Remarks are quoted from Adm. Robert Burke, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa and Allied Joint Command Naples. The discussion was primarily about working with allies, but he does not fail to mention the Coast Guard. 

“Responding to a question on whether the Navy needs to have icebreakers or hardened vessels as it increases its Arctic presence, Burke said he would leave the question “up to the force providers,” adding that ship drivers are getting good at maneuvering in the challenging Arctic environment.

“He said also that icebreaking is the U.S. Coast Guard’s “core business … today, anway,” and the Navy and Coast Guard work together in many areas worldwide.

“”We’ve got great partners in the U.S. Coast Guard. … You know, if it stays in their core mission or we do some sort of shared thing, it’s going to work great,” Burke said.”

The Coast Guard, with only two polar icebreakers, has none based on the Atlantic side. We have had some indication the Coast Guard intends to base one or more of its planned three medium icebreakers (aka Arctic Security Cutters) on the Atlantic side.

To put my comment above in context, LANTFLT has much more reason for operating in the high North than PACFLT. On the Atlantic side, Russia’s most important naval bases are above the Arctic Circle, off the Barents Sea. On the Pacific side, the primary Russian naval bases are over 800 nautical miles below the Arctic Circle around Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. So the difference is perhaps understandable.

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