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Arctic Security Review - Vol. I: Iss. 1 (2022 Week 13)

Updated: Aug 18, 2023

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"The ships of Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1) and Standing NATO Mine Counter Measures Group 1 (SNMCMG1) completed participation in Norwegian-led multinational exercise Cold Response 22 on April 1" | Uncredited photographer / NATO


[Full Web Text Version]:

The Arctic Security Review

- A Weekly Periodical Summarization of All Military Activity Detected in the High North -

Vol. I (2022) | Iss. 1 (Week 13) | 27 Mar - 2 Apr

Periodical’s Purpose

The purpose of The Arctic Security Review (ARS) is to help fulfil the mission of O.S.I.R.I.S. Media Productions, LLC—to Foster and Promote Global Security, Civil Society, and Individual Sovereignty throughout the world—by providing a free, weekly, and publicly-available academic publication showcasing all military activity in the Arctic Region. Since modern military activity in the Arctic Region may qualify for a “Cold War” status, ARS seeks to provide global decision-makers with easily accessible, frequent & transparent intelligence on Arctic Security. This periodical exclusively relies on OSINT. (This first issue showcases military activity in the US and Canadian Zones of the Arctic).

Executive Summary

During the thirteenth (13th) week of 2022, OSIRIS has received results of US joint-military exercises in and near Alaska regarding ICEX 2022, Van Winkle 2022, and Arctic Edge 2022. The Canadian government announced plans to open the Arctic-based Nanisivik Naval Facility in summer 2023. NATO’s Norwegian-based Cold Response 2022 joint-exercise concluded without any Russian observers attending. NATO released pre-Ukraine war survey suggesting high support for Article V defensive measures, especially in case of Arctic conflict against alliance members.


The United States Zone

(Activity in Alaska & All Contiguous Seas)

28 March: Alaska Air National Guard Announces Experimental “Arctic Sustainment Package” (ASP) Tested In USNORTHCOM’s Recent Arctic Edge 2022 Joint-Exercise

The Alaska Air National Guard (AK-ANG) announced that on 14 March its 211th Rescue Squadron (RQS) of the 176th Wing airdropped an experimental Arctic Sustainment Package (ASP) at the former Ice Exercise 2022 (ICEX 2022) ice-floe-campsite Ice Camp Queenfish—approx. 175 mi. from the Alaskan coastline—as part of the US Northern Command's (USNORTHCOM) third biennial Arctic Edge 2022 (AE22) joint-exercise. An AK-ANG Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) specialist explained the ASP’s purpose is to sustain military and/or civilian survivors long enough for help to arrive. The ASP consists of tent shelters, stoves, heaters, generators, cold-weather clothing, sleeping bags, food, water “and ways to make more water,” plus a “Guardian Angel” team of several Combat Rescue Officers, Pararescuemen, and SERE Specialists.


28 March: National Guard Reports CBRNE Exercise “Van Winkle 2022” Results

On 28 March, the Alaska (AK) National Guard (NG) provided post-exercise remarks of “Van Winkle 2022”—a biannual Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosives (CBRNE) joint-exercise that was held at the state’s Sub-Arctic capitol Juneau between 22-23 March. AK Guardsmen trained alongside NG units from MT, CT, MS & NC, along with local emergency response operators as well. Training scenarios included a simulated crash of a plane carrying radioactive material and the raiding of multiple chemical weapon labs in the capitol area. Officials reported the exercise enhanced Alaska’s multi-agency readiness “whenever large-scale events take place.”

29 March: US National Guard Arctic Interest Council (NC-AIC) Targets Arctic City Kotzebue as Strategic “Critical Hub Armory” in the Nation’s “Gateway to the Arctic”

A delegation of six (6) states—AK, MI, MN, MT, NH & ND—of the US National Guard Arctic Interest Council (NC-AIC) convened in the Arctic city Kotzebue, AK to inspect the viability of the local community to function as the US’ commercial and security “gateway to the Arctic.” The site is near the world’s largest producer of zinc: the Canadian-owned Teck Resources Limited “Red Dog” mine. Maj. Gen. Torrence W. Saxe implored more NG-AIC member states to send delegates to the region. "We want to get back in this area of Alaska in greater numbers, and we want to do it quickly,” he said. “Kotzebue is a critical hub armory, and we need a significant number of soldiers in this area of the state.” These other NC-AIC states are CO, CT, ID, ME, NY, OH, PA, VT, WA, WI & WY.

The Canadian Zone

(Activity in N.W. Territories, Nunavut, Yukon & More)

March 30: Canadian Department of National Defence Announces 16-Year Delay Behind Launch of Arctic-Based Military Refueling Center—Nanisivik Naval Facility

The Canadian press outlet The Globe and Mail released statements made by Department of National Defence spokesman Dan Le Bouthillier indicating that the military will complete construction and launch initial operations of the Nanisivik Naval Facility on Baffin Island in the Nunavut territory by “summer 2023,” 16 years following the original announcement of the base made by then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2007. Le Bouthillier accredits the increasing delays due to logistics limitations, harsh weather conditions, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Original designs for the strategic naval facility included a full staff that operated all year long and an airstrip capable of facilitating military jets. A scaled-back budget now enables a summer-only fueling station for both military and civilian watercraft to help cater to the Northwest Passage.


NATO Movements

(Alliance Military Activity Anywhere in the Arctic)

31 March: NATO Annual Tracking Research 2021 Reveals Arctic Warfare Views

The survey of alliance-member civilians from 12 Nov – 2 Dec 2021—released on 31 March 2022—indicates that support of NATO membership and willingness to engage in Article V defensive warfare remain high (64% average). But, this data was collected before Russia’s Feb 2022 invasion of Ukraine, and modern NATO sentiment may rank differently amongst the same survey-takers if petitioned today. This Review suggests that the probability of NATO-related military activity would increase in the Arctic if an alliance member state in or near the region are attacked by a foreign armed force.

1 April: NATO Arctic Exercise in Norway “Cold Response 2022” Concludes

NATO concluded its ninth (9th) biennial Norwegian-based joint-defense exercise Cold Response 2022 (CR22). The alliance had cancelled CR twice between 2020-2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 30,000 troops from 27 ally and partner nations participated in Arctic and Sub-Arctic conditions, “ensur[ing] readiness for every nation in these demanding conditions—on land, in the air and at sea.” Sources indicate “most of the activities during Cold Response [took] place about 500 kilometers [310 miles] west of the border to Russia’s militarized Kola Peninsula.” In accordance with the OSCE Vienna Document of 2011, NATO had invited observers from Russia and all OSCE member nations to attend CR22. Russia declined to participate without providing further reasoning, breaking with a long-standing Russo-NATO tradition of wargame transparency held since the mid-1990s. No Russian or NATO officials commented on whether this was due to the Russo-Ukrainian War. NATO officials also say residual forces will remain in the region following CR22, “There will still be some military transport, and some minor allied training and activity in April, after the field exercise.”

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ASR Vol I - Iss 1
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