The new National Defense Strategy has special operations forces spending less time on GWOT and more time on great power competition (GPC). SOF has to be prepared to meet the GPC challenge in many parts of the world. With climate change, the Arctic region is presenting opportunities for new sea lanes for shipping, access to gas and oil reserves, and mineral resources. It also offers a platform for power projection. Russia and China are moving aggressively to gain greater access and influence in the Arctic – often counter to the interests of the United States.
The 10th Special Forces Group is focused on Europe to include the high north of the Arctic region. This requires special equipment, training, and new ways of operating in a cold weather environment. Capt. Barrett Martin, of 10th SFG, recently deployed his Special Forces detachment to the high north. He shares what his team learned during that experience while training with Norwegian and Swedish forces. The commander of the 10th SFG, Col. Brian Rauen, provides the big picture about operations in the high north.
The discussion is led by Dr. Ryan Burke – co-director of Project 6633, which is an effort to explore the topic of polar security. In addition, the panel discusses an essay contest that is inviting submissions that address the question of how American special operations forces can operate in the Arctic north.
Special Operations Forces in the High North
Modern War Institute at West Point
April 2, 2021, 36 minutes
Photo: 10th Special Forces member on a snow machine during a four week long winter warfare training exercise in Sweden. (photo by SSG Matthew Britton, SOCEUR, February 28, 2018.