Arctic Circle

December 1, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
A U.S. Marine with Marine Rotational Force-Europe 20.2, Marine Forces Europe and Africa, and Norwegian soldiers pause for surveillance during Exercise Thunder Reindeer in Setermoen, Norway, in May 2020.  USMC photo by Lance Cpl. Chase W. Drayer

Given adversarial threats in the Indo-Pacific region and Europe, especially from Russia and China, the Arctic region’s strategic importance is increasing. As such, over the last several years, the U.S. military has focused on growing its cold weather operation capabilities. Beginning in 2016, the U.S. Marine Corps in particular, through host and NATO ally Norway, has maintained a presence in the Kingdom of Norway to train and develop the skills necessary to operate in extreme conditions.

December 1, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
U.S. Marines participating in the Thunder Reindeer exercise in Setermoen, Norway in late May practice their cold weather survival skills while living in the Arctic. Credit: USMC photo by Lance Cpl. Chase Drayer

Even in the summer, Norway offers challenging, rugged terrain that helps hone the cold-weather survival and mountain warfare skills of the U.S. Marines. In May, Marines and sailors with 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, along with the Marine Forces Europe and Africa, deployed to northern Norway above the Arctic Circle as part of Marine Rotational Force-Europe (MRF-E) 20.2. The warfighters worked directly with the Norwegian Army to advance their skills and improve allied interoperability, says Lt. Col. Brian Donlon, USMC, commander of 3rd Battalion, who leads the MRF-E contingent.

November 4, 2020
By Kim Underwood
U.S. Marines with 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division conduct live fire range training in cold weather conditions at the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center, in Bridgeport, California, in preparation for their deployment to Norway's high north above the Arctic circle. Credit: USMC photo by Lance Cpl. Jacqueline Parsons

Over the past several years, the U.S. military has focused on growing its cold-weather operation capabilities. The U.S. Marine Corps, through host and NATO ally Norway, has maintained a presence in the region to train and develop the skills necessary to operate in extreme conditions.

October 16, 2020
By Robert K. Ackerman
An aurora borealis appears in the night sky over the USS Thomas Hudner during an exercise in the Arctic. U.S. and allied forces are paying greater attention to operations in the Arctic and the North Atlantic in the face of an increased Russian threat. Credit: U.S. Navy photo

The U.S. Navy is adapting its Atlantic forces to improve interoperability with its NATO allies while incorporating navies from non-alliance countries. Traditional North Atlantic naval activities now extend into the Arctic Ocean, where changing conditions have opened up new threat windows.

June 5, 2012
By Beverly Schaeffer

The polar ice cap is melting, and with that comes many challenges-and potential opportunities-for the U.S. Coast Guard.