ARCTIC OCEAN: Partners assess Arctic readiness in ICEX 2020

The Watch Staff

Five nations and two U.S. Navy fast-attack submarines broke the Arctic ice in March 2020 to assess their operational readiness and train with other services, partners and allies. The Seawolf-class fast-attack submarine USS Connecticut and the Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Toledo, pictured, conducted multiple Arctic transits, a North Pole surfacing and other training while in the region.

“The Arctic is a potential strategic corridor — between the Indo-Pacific, Europe and the U.S. homeland — for expanded competition,” said U.S. Navy Vice Adm. Daryl Caudle, commander of U.S. Submarine Forces. The forces, he said, “must maintain readiness by exercising in Arctic conditions to ensure they can protect national security interests and maintain favorable balances of power in the Indo-Pacific and Europe if called upon.” Participants from Canada, Japan, Norway and the United Kingdom also contributed to the three-week, biennial exercise.

Ice Camp Seadragon, named for the first U.S. submarine to transit the Northwest Passage in 1960, was established on an Arctic ice floe. It served as a temporary command center for submarine operations and under-ice navigation exercises. The camp also consisted of infrastructure to safely house and support more than 45 personnel. The Navy’s Arctic Submarine Laboratory, based in San Diego, California, served as the lead organization for coordinating, planning and executing the exercise.