With a New, ‘Strategically Located’ Unit in Alaska, the US Army Wants to Extend Its Reach in the Arctic and Beyond

The US Army activated the 11th Airborne Division in Alaska on Monday, reestablishing it as an Arctic-focused unit in what the Pentagon sees as a valuable outpost to project power in region, into Europe, and across the Pacific.

“We expect them to be masters of their craft in the Arctic warfighting, in extreme cold weather, in mountainous and high-altitude terrain, and we expect them to develop innovative ways of operating in this environment,” Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville said at a press conference on Monday.

The two major Army units in Alaska — the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team based at Fort Wainwright and the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) based at Fort Richardson — were previously under the Hawaii-based 25th Infantry Division. . .

The Army Arctic Strategy released last spring emphasized the need for Arctic-specific training and equipment and infrastructure that could support operations over the region’s long distances and tough terrain.

The Army conducted a “gap analysis” to determine what was needed and sought to address “near-term deficiencies” in its 2023 budget request. In that request, Army asked for $101.8 million to support the strategy by buying 13 new cold-weather, all-terrain vehicles, acquiring more Arctic clothing and gear, and continuing to winterize equipment, an Army budget official said this spring. (Read more from “With a New, ‘Strategically Located’ Unit in Alaska, the US Army Wants to Extend Its Reach in the Arctic and Beyond” HERE)

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