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    Arctic Readiness: U.S. Army's New Cold Weather Doctrine

      TL;DR: The U.S. Army is pioneering a new doctrine, "Arctic and Extreme Cold Weather Operations," to prepare soldiers for the unique challenges of Arctic warfare. Set for release in mid-2024, this doctrine is the first of its kind in over fifty years and is designed to equip soldiers with the necessary skills to operate effectively in temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The doctrine focuses on tactical adaptation, addressing issues such as GPS unreliability and material fragility in extreme cold. Developed through extensive research and collaboration with Arctic nations and the 11th Airborne Division, the doctrine will be further validated during the upcoming Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Center exercise. This initiative signifies the Army's proactive approach to evolving military strategies in response to climate change and the growing significance of the Arctic region.

    Introduction of a Groundbreaking Arctic-Focused Doctrine

    For the first time in over fifty years, the U.S. Army is developing a specialized doctrine dedicated to operations in the Arctic and extreme cold weather environments. The new doctrine, titled "Arctic and Extreme Cold Weather Operations" and designated as Army Techniques Publication 3-90.96, is scheduled for release in mid-2024. This groundbreaking manual is designed to provide Soldiers and leaders with essential knowledge and techniques for effective operation in harsh Arctic conditions, including temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit. This initiative reflects the Army's recognition of the strategic importance of the Arctic, particularly as climate change makes the region more accessible.

    Adapting to Unique Arctic Challenges

    The new doctrine will focus on tactical aspects, helping Soldiers adapt their existing skills to the unique challenges of the Arctic and Subarctic regions. It addresses various distinctive and sometimes counterintuitive elements of Arctic operations, such as the impact of prolonged darkness in December, the unreliability of GPS and satellite navigation due to solar storms, and the increased fragility of materials like metals and plastics in extreme cold. Additionally, it highlights how batteries are less effective in such frigid conditions. The doctrine aims to consolidate fragmented knowledge about cold weather operations across the Army, transforming individual and unit experiences into a comprehensive resource.

    Collaboration and Validation of the Doctrine

    The Combined Arms Doctrine Directorate (CADD) Special Doctrine Division, the authority on cold weather operations, has been extensively researching and developing this doctrine. They've been training at the Northern Warfare Training Center, reviewing historical records, and consulting with Arctic nations such as Canada, Norway, Finland, Sweden, and Denmark. The 11th Airborne Division in Alaska, known for its cold weather expertise, has significantly contributed to the doctrine's development by providing subject matter expertise and reviewing revisions. The upcoming Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Center exercise involving the 11th Airborne Division will serve as a crucial validation step for the doctrine. This exercise will simulate large-scale combat scenarios in cold environments, providing immediate feedback to refine the doctrine further. This collaborative approach ensures the U.S. Army remains prepared and capable of succeeding in Arctic warfare, drawing inspiration from indigenous communities in Alaska who have thrived in such conditions for millennia.

    Image Credit: Midjourney

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