In his recent address commemorating the reactivation of Second Fleet, Vice Admiral Andrew Lewis noted that in the past 20 years, the United States has become complacent about its abilities to maneuver in and project power from the North Atlantic. With the polar ice caps melting, however, countries with interests in the northern hemisphere are considering anew the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans as major operating theaters for naval and amphibious operations.1 Russia holds the most bases and ports in the high north and is continuing to build on that advantage with the widely publicized construction of new bases.2 China also is showing obvious interest in the shipping and strategic basing opportunities afforded by the north as part of its larger Belt and Road Initiative.3
1. Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer, Center for Strategic and International Studies, 6 December 2018, https://csis-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/publication/181206_ConversationwithHonRichardVSpencerSecretaryoftheNavy.pdf.
2. ADM Harry B. Harris, USN, Statement before Senate Armed Services Committee, 15 March 2018, www.armed-services.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Harris_03-15-18.pdf; and GEN Curtis B. Scaparrotti, USA, Statement before Senate Armed Services Committee, 8 March 2018, www.armed-services.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Scaparrotti_03-08-18.pdf.
3. John Simpson, BBC News, 18 December 2018, www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-46386867.
4. COL Christopher Woodbridge, USMC (Ret.), “Learning without Losing,” Marine Corps Gazette, November 2017.
5. Kiel Conference on the High North, Center of Excellence for Operations in Confined and Shallow Waters 2016, www.coecsw.org/fileadmin/coe-csw/images/news/2016/KiCo/Kiel_Conference_2016.pdf.
6. Memorandum of Understanding Governing Prestockage and Reinforcement of Norway, Department of Defense, 2005.
7. Shawn Snow, “When Hell Freezes Over: How the Corps Plans to Win in a Cold Weather Fight in Russia or North Korea,” Marine Corps Times, 20 February 2018.
8. Abigail Grace and Daniel Kliman, “Power Play: Addressing China’s Belt and Road Strategy,” Center for a New American Security, September 2018, www.cnas.org/publications/reports/power-play.
9. Jane Lanhee Lee, “U.S. Should Create Fund to Counter China’s Belt and Road Push,” Reuters, 14 November 2018, www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-china-roads/u-s-should-create-fund-to-counter-chinas-belt-and-road-push-commission-idUSKCN1NJ0E1; and Hunter Marston, “The U.S. Needs a Reality Check on China’s Belt and Road,” The Diplomat, 31 May 2018, https://thediplomat.com/2018/05/the-us-needs-a-reality-check-on-chinas-belt-and-road/.