Rap, rap, rapping on the Bastion door

“Three Arleigh Burke-class Aegis destroyers — USS Donald Cook, USS Porter, and USS Roosevelt — are supported by fast combat support ship USNS Supply and joined by the Royal Navy’s HMS Kent to assert freedom of navigation and demonstrate seamless integration among allies,” a U.S. Navy news release said.

Not a big deal, as such joint operations happen every day somewhere in the maritime domain.

What is a big deal, is that the exercise involved said surface action group chilling out above the Arctic Circle in the Barents Sea, long a “safe” boomer bastion for the Russian Northern Fleet. Further, other than for Norway which is a “local” in the region, the task force was the largest NATO operation in the region in about 25 years.

ARCTIC OCEAN (May 5, 2020) The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78), front, the Royal Navy Type-23 Duke-class frigate HMS Kent (F78), the fast combat support ship USNS Supply (T-AOE 6) and USS Roosevelt (DDG 80) conduct joint operations to ensure maritime security in the Arctic Ocean, May 5, 2020. (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of the Royal Navy by Royal Navy Photographer Dan Rosenbaum/Released)

ADM James Foggo, the commander of U.S. Naval Forces in Europe and the commander of NATO’s Allied Joint Force Command in Naples, Italy, said there will be more deployments and more exercises in the High North.

“The Russians are operating with state-of-the-art nuclear submarines,” he said. “That said, we still have the competitive advantage. But they’re good, and getting better.”

More on what that means, here.

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