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Trump Directs US to Develop Polar Security Icebreaking Fleet for Arctic, Antarctic, White House Says

Sputnik News

17:00 GMT 09.06.2020(updated 17:47 GMT 09.06.2020)

NATO member states have doubled their military activity in the northern polar region over the past five years, the Russian Foreign Ministry's Ambassador at Large for Arctic Cooperation Nikolay Korchunov said on 22 May.

The US government has been tasked with an inter-agency programme to develop a new fleet of icebreakers to project American national interests in the Arctic and Antarctic regions as soon as possible, President Donald Trump has announced in a memorandum.

"The United States will develop and execute a polar security icebreaking fleet acquisition program that supports our national interests in the Arctic and Antarctic regions", the memorandum to the secretaries of state, defence, homeland security, commerce, energy, as well as the Office of Management and Budget and national security adviser said.

According to the memo, the fleet will include "use cases in the Arctic that span the full range of national and economic security missions (including the facilitation of resource exploration and exploitation and undersea cable laying and maintenance) that may be executed by a class of medium PSCs, as well as analysis of how these use cases differ with respect to the anticipated use of heavy PSCs for these same activities".

The new fleet must be equipped with "assets and resources, capable of ensuring a persistent United States presence in the Arctic and Antarctic regions in support of national interests and in furtherance of the National Security Strategy and the National Defense Strategy", the memorandum said.

The assets will include unmanned aviation; surface and undersea systems; space systems; sensors and other systems to achieve and maintain maritime domain awareness; command and control systems; secure communications and data transfer systems; and intelligence-collection systems, the memorandum said.

The assets will potentially have a defensive armament adequate to defend against threats by near-peer competitors and the potential for nuclear-powered propulsion, the memorandum added.

The memorandum comes after Russian Envoy at Large for Arctic Cooperation Nikolay Korchunov stated that NATO member states, as well as non-NATO countries, have become increasingly involved in military activity in the northern polar region in recent years.

On 1 May, the US Sixth Fleet conducted a joint naval anti-submarine warfare exercise with the United Kingdom in the Norwegian Sea. Four ships, a US submarine, and a Boeing P8-A reconnaissance aircraft participated in the drills.

Sputnik



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