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Old 11-27-2021, 11:36 AM
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Red face US Army to regain Arctic dominance

U.S. Army to regain Arctic dominance
By: Dylan Malyasov - Defense News - 11-27-21

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The U.S. Army is currently conducting training and preparing as part of its new Arctic strategy to regain Arctic dominance by implementing improvements to increase readiness in the Arctic.

The Arctic, a vital area containing many of our nation’s natural resources and key shipping channels, is a platform for projecting global power and a possible avenue of attack in conflict. This past March the Army released its Arctic Strategy to secure national interests and maintain regional stability.

According to a recent service news release, one of the keys to that readiness is the Northern Warfare Training Center.

NWTC is where Soldiers go to learn what it takes to not only survive in up to 40 degrees below zero temperatures, operate in four to five feet of snow and endure winds up to 50 to 60 mph, but also how to succeed and thrive to become experts in the Arctic environment.

“An Arctic Expert would be someone, whoever that might be, infantry, armor or artillery in extreme cold weather and make their equipment function as expected and not letting the environment stopping them from finishing the mission,” said Steven Decker, longtime civilian instructor for the Northern Warfare Training Center, also known as “Father Winter” to others at NWTC.

Those trained at the school go back to their units and pass along the lessons learned to enable their Soldiers to survive in the cold environments of Alaska.

“We want noncommissioned officers that have just been stationed up here, we have them go through our train-the-trainer course. We also want squad lead leaders and fire team leaders because they’re the ones who actually train Soldiers,” one instructor said.

The Cold Weather Leaders Course is an 11-day course, with a field exercise that spans six days out in the cold, which pushes Soldiers to extremes they may have never gone through.

“Sometimes they think they’ll do better in the cold than they do. A lot of them learn hard lessons about themselves. Other people learn positive things, like they’re more resilient and tougher than they believed,” said Decker.

The school also makes it possible for Soldiers to become more resilient to the winter months and can improve the quality of life for them.

“Sometimes new people come here, and they’re intimidated or have preconceived notions about the cold, that Alaska doesn’t have the amenities that they are used to in the Lower 48, so this training can open their eyes to something that they may not have experienced before. To where they can take these skills and hike trails, go snow machining, skiing or ice fishing and be less intimidated, more inclined to get out and enjoy Alaska,” Decker said.

The Training Center also assist Army Futures Command in testing and equipping new Arctic Equipment for Soldiers to improve their ability to operate in the Arctic.

“[Army Futures Command] does count our opinion heavily because we are out there constantly, like the clothing we’re testing, there are technological and functional improvements to it, we also have influence on other things like the vehicle that will replace the Small Unit Support Vehicle,” according to Decker.

Teaching how to thrive in the Arctic, improving quality of life by exposing people to what they can do and preparing for the future are how the Northern Warfare Training Center is helping the Army increase our “deterrence capabilities” and regain the Army’s Arctic dominance.

About this writer: Dylan Malyasov - -s a U.S. defense journalist and commentator. Aviation photographer. Dylan leads Defence Blog's coverage of global military news, focusing on engineering and technology across the U.S. defense industry.


Personal note: Burr - Extreme Cold Weather Duty has to be a bitch! The US Army has many game
plans afoot of late up there. I hope you get hazardous duty pay up there! I used to be ok with the
cold weather - but of late - I just can't deal with weather lower than 20 degrees and even then it
takes awhile to shake off the cold. Tough duty guys - but it seems we need you up there - to cover
our asses down here. Try to stay warm if you can. Burr - I dislike very cold weather especially at
my age! Be safe - & watch your backs - and watch out for the wild bears!
I was working up in Northern Alberta for one of the mining companies in the dead of winter.
I flew out of Vancouver in on DC- 3 two engine prop with snow shoes on its landers.
As a field trouble shooting Field Engineer - I had to go to some God awful places all around
the globe. When I had to go another building during a snow storm - I was told to call the other
building first and let them know I was coming. And then call back the building I just left.
If I didn't call back - they sent guys out to find out why? It seems its common that bears
visit the camp periodically - and a few guys that worked there became snacks for the bears.
(I really didn't need to hear that shit - but I made it there in knee and waste high snow &
several high drifts. (Hey - what the hell - its a job - this is where I made my money).
Note: Have a little brandy (I call it liquid furnace) with your hot coffee) - it helps to shake
off the willies or jitter's from the cold - and it puts a little heat in your furnace.

O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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