As the U.S. military is focusing on the Russian and Chinese threats, the Arctic becomes an ever more important region. The bountiful natural resources that reportedly exist under the endless ice of the Arctic make the contested region highly desirable for all contestants — and there’s a lot of them.

In addition to the U.S., the European Union, China, Russia, Canada, and the United Kingdom all present some claim to the Arctic and over portions of the plentiful natural resources that are hidden underneath its ice.

Thus, U.S. special operations units have every interest to prepare for action in an arctic environment since they are at the tip of the spear of the American military.

In September, a Special Forces mountain team from 1st Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group, participated in exercise Valor United 20. The exercise, which brought together special operations and conventional troops, took place in Seward, Alaska. Its aim was to boost the participants’ experience and expertise in arctic warfare and increase the interoperability between special operations and conventional forces.