For 2023, the Navy wants to add 246,000 square miles to the area it can use for the exercise, stretching it west to a point south of Dutch Harbor.
Kodiak’s Pier 2 is used to hosting cruise ships and large crab boats this time of year. So a 600-foot Navy warship was a little out of place on Tuesday.
With increasing military interest in the Arctic, many coastal communities worry about the effects of large training exercises in Alaska waters.
These kinds of military encounters are happening all across Russia’s sphere of influence, and add up psychologically to create a sense of the country’s global reach, explains Heather Conley with the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
The skies above the Interior and Southcentral Alaska will get a lot busier starting next week, when Northern Edge 2017 gets under way. It’ll be the biggest military-training exercise to be held this year in Alaska.
The exercise normally happens every two years, but was canceled in 2013 due to budget sequestration. That time gap is part of the reason critics say communication from the military has been inadequate, leading to protests in several Southcentral communities last month.
Four representatives travelled to Homer to explain the purpose of Northern Edge. Captain Raymond Hesser is a naval officer with Alaskan Command.