The Arctic theatre

Denmark has just appointed a political advisor to Nuuk. He is to act as liason between the Danish and Greenlandic authorities on security/defence policy issues.

Google translation from Danish to English:

In the wake of the US opening of a consulate in Nuuk, Denmark is now also creating a new political position in Greenland.

In future, the Ministry of Defense will have a political adviser stationed in Nuuk.

The adviser must act as a liaison between the Danish and Greenlandic authorities in the security policy issues that are constantly taking up more and more space on the world's largest island.

The new adviser will fly to Greenland on Thursday with Minister of Defense Trine Bramsen (S) to start in his new position immediately.

- I have decided that in future we will have a political adviser in Greenland. This must be seen in the light of the ever-increasing security policy and defense policy development that is taking place in the Arctic, says Trine Bramsen.

Door to door with the US Consul
The advisory position will be filled by changing officials from the Ministry of Defense.

The Armed Forces in Nuuk already have Arctic Command, which handles the operational parts of the emergency preparedness and sovereignty enforcement in Greenland.

It will be in the Arctic Command's office that the new adviser will be housed.

In this way, the political adviser will sit door to door with the new US consul in Nuuk, Sung Choi, who took office in June.

However, the creation of the Danish advisory position has nothing to do with the fact that the USA has just done the same, Trine Bramsen emphasizes.

- I made this decision a long time ago, so it has nothing to do with it. This is about the Danish-Greenlandic cooperation, she says.

The Interforce section opens
On the trip to Greenland, the Minister of Defense will also be involved in opening a local branch of Interforce in Nuuk.

Interforce is a now 20-year-old collaboration between the business community and the Armed Forces on the use of the reserve forces and the Home Guard volunteers and has former Minister of Defense Søren Gade (V) as chairman.

In addition, Trine Bramsen will meet with Greenlandic politicians to, among other things, hear their opinion on how a pool of DKK 1.5 billion for increased surveillance in the Arctic can best be implemented.
 
Denmark has just appointed a political advisor to Nuuk. He is to act as liason between the Danish and Greenlandic authorities on security/defence policy issues.


Here is the only link I could find in English:

It sounds like the Danes are getting nervous about the American increasingly sniffing around Greenland.
 
The Russian navy are conducting an exercise in the Bering Sea. Despite the story headline saying "near Alaska", according to the US it's not actually near Alaska.
Russian navy conducts major manoeuvres near Alaska
Russia's navy chief, Admiral Nikolai Yevmenov, said more than 50 warships and about 40 aircraft were taking part in the exercise in the Bering Sea, which involved multiple practice missile launches.

"We are holding such massive drills there for the first time ever," Yevmenov said in a statement released by the Russian Defence Ministry.

It wasn't immediately clear when the exercises began or if they had finished.

Yevmenov emphasized that the war games are part of Russia's efforts to boost its presence in the Arctic region and protect its resources.

"We are building up our forces to ensure the economic development of the region," he said. "We are getting used to the Arctic spaces."
 
Russian LRA demonstrating that they have similar capabilities, after the USAF B52 NATO flyover last week.

'The 20,000 km long flight took place from the Engels air base in southern Russia, via the Barents Sea to the central part of the Arctic Ocean, over the Northern Sea Route towards the Pacific with return over Siberia back to the airport.

'The two Tu-160 supersonic long-range bombers made three mid-air refueling from six Il-78 tanker planes during the 25 hours flight. After flying north to the Barents Sea and the central Arctic Ocean, the plane flew over the Kara, Laptev, East Siberian and Chukchi Seas as well as the Pacific Ocean in Russia’s Far East.

'For parts of the flight, the bombers were followed by Su-35 fighters. The Defense Ministry in Moscow also confirms that foreign aircraft followed the planes for part of the route, but did not specify the origin of the foreign planes.

'North American Aerospace Defense Command said Saturday it had scrambled F-22 Raptors and an E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft, supported by KC-135 tankers.

'U.S. planes positively identified two Tu-160 and two Su-35 fighter aircraft entering the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone three times last night, according to NORAD.

'The Russian planes, flying in international airspace, were in the zone for approximately four hours.

'The previous record with Tu-160 aircraft was set in June 2010, when the duration lasted for 24 hours and 24 minutes.'


 
Interesting article from Reuters, not much in the way of new information, but worth a read anyway.


As the Arctic's attractions mount, Greenland is a security black hole

Environment

Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen


COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - On a windy August afternoon in 2017, Akitsinnguaq Ina Olsen was relaxing in the old harbour of Nuuk, Greenland’s capital, when a Chinese icebreaker sailed unannounced into the Arctic island’s territorial waters.....

 
Something of a disparity in capabilities.

'As the US intensifies its focus on the Arctic, the gap between its icebreaker fleet and Russia's has become a concern, underscored in recent weeks by the breakdown of one of the US's two icebreakers as it sailed north. In mid-August, a fire aboard US Coast Guard cutter Healy, a medium icebreaker that mainly supports scientific research, cut short its planned deployment to the Arctic, forcing it to return to homeport in Seattle. That left the US with only one operational icebreaker, the 44-year-old Polar Star.

'Polar Star is the US's only heavy icebreaker and is prone to breakdowns and other problems. Polar Star typically makes an annual resupply run to Antarctica's McMurdo Station, but that was canceled this year due to COVID-19. With Healy out of operation, the Polar Star is being dispatched to the Arctic "to help protect the nation's maritime sovereignty and security in the region," the Coast Guard said in late October. It will be the first time a Polar Class icebreaker has gone to the Arctic for a non-scientific mission since 1994, and it comes as the US scrambles to rebuild its icebreaker fleet and its reach into the Arctic as climate change makes the region more accessible.

'Russia has some 50 icebreakers, the most recent of which officials say is the world's largest and most powerful, and more are on the way. The US's focus elsewhere for the past two decades has meant less emphasis on the Arctic, whereas Russia's plans for the region have led to more investment in icebreakers and ice-hardened ships, according to Elizabeth Buchanan, a lecturer in strategic studies with Australia's Deakin University. "Russia has more [icebreakers] due to [its] sizeable area to patrol, and economic ventures ... have meant they've kept a keen eye on the capability," Buchanan told Insider. The Coast Guard plans to build at least three more heavy icebreakers, and a contract has already been awarded to begin the design and construction of the first one, with a hoped-for arrival in 2024. In a memorandum this summer, President Donald Trump called for "a ready, capable, and available fleet" that is "fully deployable" by 2029.


 
I'm sure I wasn't the only one to believe Warsaw Pact claims to have the best kit in the greatest numbers.

There's no way would Russia's claim to have "some 50 icebreakers" be any sort of propaganda.
 

Yokel

LE
I'm sure I wasn't the only one to believe Warsaw Pact claims to have the best kit in the greatest numbers.

There's no way would Russia's claim to have "some 50 icebreakers" be any sort of propaganda.

Do the Russian Icebreakers need to be accompanied by salvage tugs, or does the fifty include ice strengthened tugs?

I understand that an ice breaker is similar to a tug in terms of hull form and sheer power (as opposed to speed). She the UK build an Arctic patrol ship similar to the RRS Sir David Attenborough?
 
There are proposals for LNG exports from the Arctic in Canada which are based on the premise that navigation will be getting easier as the ice melts more and more.
N.W.T. gov't exploring LNG project off Canadian Arctic coast

The ships' icebreaking capabilities are needed less today than ever before, thanks to climate change. By the late 2020s, when exports could feasibly be underway, there will be even less ice. That's all factored into the territorial government's enthusiasm for the project.

"Sea ice coverage and thickness is lower than it has ever been, and is anticipated to continue to shrink, reducing Arctic shipping concerns," reads an optimistic territorial government presentation slide shared with CBC.
 

Yokel

LE
CIMSEC - A NEW MARITIME STRATEGY FOR AN EMERGING MARITIME DOMAIN

Coming on the heels of the new tri-service maritime strategy (“Advantage at Sea”), the Department of the Navy has now released an updated framework for the Arctic region— “A Blue Arctic: A Strategic Blueprint for the Arctic.” The document is a marked improvement on the brisk 2019 Navy version. It is particularly innovative (as strategies go) in including the Marine Corps in a “Blue/Green” approach to the region and in its navigation of cooperative themes in a moment dominated by great power competition. Yet it also has room for growth, in particular on how to connect loftier concepts with operational realities.

As the title implies, the strategy leans into framing the Arctic as “blue” (as opposed to “white”). The “Blue Arctic” conceit is likely to be among the document’s most enduring legacies. Coming on the tail end of a Trump presidency, the strategy may not be officially in force for long. As a result, its rhetorical contributions could outlast any specific policy proposals. On that score, the Blue Arctic push might be a success. Given the realities of climate change, the real novelty that the Navy, Marine Corps, and US policymakers must wrestle with in the Arctic’s future is how rapidly its maritime character is changing. It makes sense to grapple with that reality directly, and to give it a moniker that the bureaucracy can grab hold of.

That maritime focus does not displace the long-term role of aerospace defense in the Arctic, as attested by the enduring US-Canada partnership through the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). Yet going back to documents from the Obama administration, like the 2016 implementation framework for the 2013 national strategy, it was clear (via tasking to the Coast Guard and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) that the maritime angle was rising in importance. Similarly, the Blue Arctic framing well highlights emerging challenges—climate change is the central factor reshaping Arctic geopolitics. Coming with an opening seascape is the greater likelihood for accidents at sea and the prospect of miscalculation that accompanies rival navies operating near one another. So, as a framework for thinking about what is strategically salient in the Arctic today, the Blue Arctic is a helpful construct.

Similarly innovative is the strategy’s authorship. Although the document is not fully tri-service like its recent partner, it is notable as the first modern joint Navy/Marine Corps Arctic strategy. This is not just a bureaucratic feat. The Marine Corps has long-standing operational requirements in the Arctic—as evinced by High North amphibious exercises off Alaska and Norway.

Integrating Navy and Marine Corps operations is part of a bigger trend, as seen in the commandant’s planning guidance and the release of new operational concepts like Expeditionary Advanced Basing Operations and Littoral Operations in Contested Environments (LOCE). Some of these, particularly LOCE, also feature in the Arctic strategy. Yet considering those operational concepts were developed for a potential crisis in the Pacific theater, their reapplication to the Arctic warrants some further scrutiny.

Where the document is at its best, however, is in the focus on the US’s objectives in the Arctic. The document should be lauded—in a moment dominated by great power competition—for foregrounding stability, governance, and peace as the main political objectives guiding US engagement in the Arctic. The invocation of peace through strength is vague and opens the potential for a more confrontational approach to the Arctic, but it does not require that interpretation....

 

Yokel

LE
Swedish Navy Chief talks about Russian Grey Zone threats

“It’s very easy to hamper or harass without anyone [seeing] it or [knowing] it – that is maybe the worst problem if you compare [the maritime environment to] what can happen ashore,” she said.

“That’s why we are very much concerned of always be present at sea, because then we can be the eyes at sea, and we can also both show our flag of course to other nations but also to show that we are ready to protect the merchant shipping, if that’s the one being harassed.”
 

Yokel

LE
A passing thought...

The United Kingdom has a scientific presence on Antarctica - the British Antarctic Survey. The Science they do is relevant to us as a lot of it relates to things such as climate change. They have vessels capable of operating in the ice:



Additionally the Royal Navy retains the ability to operate in the ice with HMS Protector.

1613038266098.jpeg


Surely a case could be made for the UK to have a sovereign presence in the Arctic, and a dedicated vessel? The region is just as important in terms of environmental change and the need for scientific research, plus there is the possibility of new sea routes opening up, and it is strategically important for NATO.
 
(...) Surely a case could be made for the UK to have a sovereign presence in the Arctic, and a dedicated vessel? The region is just as important in terms of environmental change and the need for scientific research, plus there is the possibility of new sea routes opening up, and it is strategically important for NATO.
The UK have territory near the Antarctic, claims on part of Antarctica, and no allies nearby.

The UK have no territory in or near the Arctic Ocean, and every country bordering on the Arctic Ocean except Russia is a NATO ally of Britain.

There's probably better things for the UK to be spending its money on at this time than icebreakers for the Arctic.
 
The UK have territory near the Antarctic, claims on part of Antarctica, and no allies nearby.

The UK have no territory in or near the Arctic Ocean, and every country bordering on the Arctic Ocean except Russia is a NATO ally of Britain.

There's probably better things for the UK to be spending its money on at this time than icebreakers for the Arctic.
I do believe that a large percentage of the Emperor Penguins are ‘British’.
 

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