ARCTIC NATION: Navy’s “Arctic” Fleet; Marines’ Cold Weather Boot; Arctic Report Card

January 2, 2020 at 11:58 pm Leave a comment

Navy’s 2nd Fleet “Fully Operational”.

The U.S. Navy’s 2nd Fleet — reestablished to counter Russia in the north Atlantic — has reached full operational capability, the Stars and Stripes website reported Thursday (January 2, 2020).

The Norfolk, Va.-based 2nd Fleet, reestablished in 2018, will be responsible for overseeing ships, aircraft and landing forces on the east coast and the north Atlantic, reaching up into the Arctic.

USS Harry S. Truman and USS Normandy Transit the Atlantic

The USS Harry Truman (CVN75) entered Arctic waters in October 2018, the first time in 30 years a U.S. aircraft carrier ventured into the Arctic Circle. ( (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Scott Swofford)

The declaration of “full operational capability” certifies that 2nd Fleet’s command-and-control infrastructure is capable of running its assigned operations, Stars and Stripes, noted.

“Our allies and competitors alike are well aware that many of the world’s most active shipping lanes lie within the North Atlantic,” 2nd Fleet commander, Vice Admiral Andrew Lewis, said  Vice Admiral Andrew Lewis, who heads the fleet, said, according to Defense News.

“Combined with the opening of waterways in the Arctic, this competitive space will only grow, and 2nd Fleet’s devotion to the development and employment of capable forces will ensure that our nation is both present and ready to fight in the region if and when called upon,” Lewis added.

When the Navy stood up the fleet last year, it cited Russia as the primary concern for which the new force is to address, Defense News noted. At the time, then-Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson said: “This is a dynamic response to the dynamic security environment.”

In a sign of how strategically important the High North has become, Stars and Stripes noted,  last September, the 2nd Fleet established a Maritime Operations Center in Keflavik, Iceland, where 30 staff members now are based.

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Marines Getting the Boot.

The U.S. Marine Corps could be getting its first new intense cold-weather boot since the 1960s, the Marine Corps Times reports.

The Marine Corps Systems Command is finalizing  testing and evaluation of two commercial options, with the winner expected to be delivered by summer 2020.

The two semifinalists are the Belleville Intense Cold Weather Boot and the Danner Acadia. Over the ­winter, systems command staff will conduct follow-on user evaluations to validate the two boot submissions in a real world environment.

1st CEB Hikes During MTX 2-17

Marines snowshoeing downhill  at the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center in Bridgeport, California on February 22, 2017. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Corporal Danny Gonzalez).

The Marines and Army have been using a big, white, 1960s-era rubberized intense cold weather boot — nicknamed the “Mickey Mouse” boot — for more than half a century. Officially known as the Extreme Cold Weather Boot, it is effective at preventing frostbite and ­keeping feet warm down to minus 60 degrees Fahrenheit. But it is heavy and traps moisture creating wet feet.

The new boot is part of efforts to upgrade cold weather gear as Marines are expected to ­contribute forces to Arctic regions, such as their regular ­700-Marine rotations to Norway. Another gear item in that kit was the 2018 purchase of a new ski system, which was awarded to Serket USA for its Scout model ski and Patrol ski binding, the Marine Corps Times said.

Click here to see a video about extreme cold weather boots (Mickey Mouse or Bunny boots are addressed at 3:29)

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More Bad News.

Temperatures in the Arctic region remained near record highs in 2019, according to a report issued in December by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The higher temperatures led to low summer sea ice, cascading impacts on the regional food web and growing concerns over sea level rise, according to the New York Times.

Mid-summer sea ice off Svalbard, Norway 2019.

Thinning Midsummer sea ice off Svalbard, Norway in June 2019. (Photo by John M. Doyle, copyright 2019, Sonoma Road Strategies)

Average temperatures for the year ending in September were the second highest since 1900, the year records began, scientists said. While short of a new high, it raised concerns over a continuing trend: The past six years have been the warmest ever recorded in the region.

The peer-reviewed assessment produced by NOAA takes a broad look at the effects of climate change in the region and compares current findings with the historical record. Climate researchers are concerned about the Arctic because it is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet — causing changes both in the ocean and on land, the Times reported December 10, 2019.

In July, Reykjavik, Iceland, experienced its warmest month on record. Similarly, Anchorage, Alaska, set heat records in June, July and August. Warming temperatures were just one of the concerning changes documented in the report. Ninety-five percent of the Greenland ice sheet thawed in 2019, driven partly by the onset of an earlier-than-usual melt, prompting growing concerns over sea level rise.

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sea_ice_polar_bear

ARCTIC NATION is an occasional 4GWAR posting on the Far North. The U.S. “National Strategy for the Arctic Region” describes the United States as “an Arctic Nation with broad and fundamental interests” in the region. “Those interests include national security needs, protecting the environment, responsibly managing resources, considering the needs of indigenous communities, support for scientific research, and strengthening international cooperation on a wide range of issues.”

Entry filed under: Arctic, ARCTIC NATION, climate change, HIGH NORTH, Marine Corps, National Security and Defense, Naval Warfare, Navy, Photos, Skills and Training, Technology, U.S. Navy, Unconventional Warfare, Weaponry and Equipment. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , .

FRIDAY FOTO (December 27, 2019) FRIDAY FOTO (January 3, 2020)

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