Providing support for U.S. military Arctic operations: critical infrastructure already in place at Deadhorse Aviation Center.

Author:Davey, Lori

Between April 29 and May 3 this year, the US Army conducted a series of training exercises out of Deadhorse Aviation Center (DAC) at Prudhoe Bay as part of Operation Spartan Pegasus, an Arctic mobility operation designed to enhance the proficiency of US joint forces Arctic airborne operations and ground maneuvers in extreme weather conditions.

DAC provided hangar and conference facilities, sleeping accommodations, meal service, and vehicle support for the exercises involving a US Air Force C-17 military cargo plane, two Blackhawk helicopters, three SUSVs (small unit support vehicles), and approximately thirty soldiers. The training included a jump exercise with thirteen paratroopers descending to a drop zone just southwest of DAC, following the successful heavy drop of an SUSV from the same aircraft.

This is one example of operational support offered to the US Military by DAC. The following military operations were also conducted at DAC in 2014:

* The US Navy Applied Physics Laboratory Ice Station established its base of operations at the DAC East hangar February 24-April 2

* The US Army conducted ICEX 2014 Search and Rescue exercises out of DAC February 24-25

* The US Coast Guard visited DAC on numerous occasions with its C-37A Gulfstream V jet and HH-60 Jayhawk helicopters while performing exercises out of Barrow

Arctic Importance

With the publication of the US Navy Arctic Roadmap 2014-2030, preceded by the introduction of the National Strategy for the Arctic Region released by the President in May 2013 and the Arctic Strategy submitted by the Department of Defense in November of that year, the US Arctic has been articulated as an area of strategic national importance from a commercial, scientific, political, and military perspective.

In its report, the Department of Defense recognizes the need to employ innovative strategies for supporting the Arctic mission and the balancing act necessary to undertake this mission in an expensive operating environment during times of fiscal challenge. Fair-weather LLC is in a unique position to offer its thirty-plus years of arctic experience to support the US military as it ventures into Arctic areas of operation.

It is understood that each military branch recognizes a high need to ensure security, support safety, and promote defense cooperation in and around the Alaska Arctic. It is also widely acknowledged that the Alaska Arctic is melting, and soon there will be a short season transpolar route with...

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