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U.S./Russian Military Focus on the Arctic

Oct. 21, 2016 (EIRNS)—Both Russia and the United States are concentrating military plans on the Arctic region. Earlier, this week, the Russian Defense Ministry reported that an exercise had begun in the Kola Peninsula, in the region of Murmansk, with 5,000 troops and 500 pieces of equipment. The servicemen will use their organic military hardware to move to the training ranges of the Pechengsky district, repelling attacks by the notional enemy’s subversive groups while en route and practicing air defense and actions required when the enemy uses mass destruction weapons, reports the Northern Fleet press office, according to a report in TASS.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon is giving increasing attention to the region, but is also wary of diverting too many resources in demand elsewhere. The United States needs to

"make sure that we remain capable of operating up there; we remain aware of how things are changing and are ready to respond appropriately,"

Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson said at a recent conference, reports National Defense. The Pentagon plans to spend about $6 billion up there in Fiscal Year 2017, including $296 million for projects to support the future use of the F-35A joint strike fighter at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska; $47 million for construction of an unmanned aerial vehicle hangar at Fort Wainwright, Alaska; and $20 million for hangar modification and equipment at Keflavik, Iceland, to support P-8A reconnaissance aircraft deployments, according to a DOD report to Congress, "Resourcing the Arctic Strategy," which also calls for $461 million in projects to improve surveillance, communications, and radar systems for the polar region.

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