The U.S. Navy says it intends to send more ships into the Arctic region this summer to help order create a new strategic port facility in the Bering Sea.
The announcement comes in response to Russia’s recently increased military presence in the area in light of receding ice which is opening up new trade routes and economic opportunities.
The U.S. Navy has a well-established history of operations within the Arctic Circle, but usually by using submarines or patrol planes.
In 2018, it sent the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Trumanand other ships in its strike group into the Arctic Circle as part of NATO’s large-scale Exercise Trident Juncture.
The service does, though, face some basic polar challenges.
Primarily, it has no icebreakers.
The only two icebreakers belonging to the U.S. are currently operated by the U.S. Coast Guard and are both reported to be increasingly old and unreliable.
USCG has been trying to acquire a new fleet of icebreakers for many years, but contines to be thwarted by funding issues.