The U.S. military’s renewed focus on the Arctic means more operations in a uniquely challenging environment, and its personnel are spending more time there to get used to it.
The latest force to head north is an expeditionary B-1B bomber squadron and more than 200 airmen, which will go to Orland Air Base in central Norway to conduct Bomber Task Force missions around Europe.
U.S. European Command didn’t say when they’ll arrive — some airmen are reportedly there already — or how long they’ll stay, but the command did say their training will range “from operating in the high north to improving interoperability with allies and partners” in Europe.
“The Arctic remains a key area for us to continue to best understand how we will operate up there, and key to me for that is how we operate with our partners,” Gen. Jeff Harrigian, commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe, told Insider during a Defense Writers Group event in June.
Harrigian cited Norway, Sweden, and Finland as partners from whom the Air Force was learning “how we can best leverage what they’ve been doing for years to support operations up there.”
“It is crystal clear to us that our partners have the best understanding of how to do that, so our reliance on them and the interaction… is really going to be key to our success,” Harrigian added.
The Air Force has the military’s largest Arctic presence, and the service underscored its importance last summer in its first Arctic Strategy document, which labeled it “an increasingly vital region for U.S. national security interests.”
This report was written by Christopher Woody and originally published on Insider.