• Thanks for stopping by. Logging in to a registered account will remove all generic ads. Please reach out with any questions or concerns.

The Arctic

This is good news...

After decades of plans and studies, Iqaluit’s deep sea port finally opens​

By Trevor Wright
Jul 27, 2023

As containers were being offloaded from the MV Qamutik through Nunavut’s first deep-sea port in Iqaluit, residents of the city gathered to celebrate the port’s official grand opening.

“We can offload a lot faster than when we used to be at the beach,” said Marc Andre, vice-president of sales and marketing with the NEAS Group, consisting of both Nunavut Eastern Arctic Shipping and Nunavik Eastern Arctic Shipping.

The price tag for the port was nearly $85 million, largely buoyed by federal money. Construction started in July 2018 under the Provincial-Territorial Infrastructure Component – National and Regional Projects program.

Prior to the port’s opening on July 25, ships had to offload cargo through the sealift which would normally take waiting up to 12 hours a day for the tides and involve hauling a small barge back and forth between the shore and the ship. A process which stretched out to nearly three weeks for one such ship last shipping season, noted Andre.

“The infrastructure is very large, we have a lot more room, but most importantly it’s a safe environment for our workers, for the population. It’s very efficient. For us in the end, it’s a success so far,” he said.

While Nunavut’s other 24 communities still have to contend with the sealift, ships are expected to arrive earlier than in past years because of the faster offloading in Iqaluit.

“That means we’re a couple of days earlier in Kimmirut, in Pangnirtung, in Cape Dorset (Kinngait),” said Andre.

Picture and plan


An older article - a RAND Corporation suggestion that because of the proximity of Greenland that Denmark be admitted to NORAD.

That might change the political dynamic a bit. 2 on 1 vs 1 on 1.

An older article - a RAND Corporation suggestion that because of the proximity of Greenland that Denmark be admitted to NORAD.

That might change the political dynamic a bit. 2 on 1 vs 1 on 1.

What "political dynamic" would could Denmark bring to the alliance? One plus one does not equal two when it is Canada and Denmark versus the United States. And what strategic position does Greenland offer the United States as a geographic buffer against attack that is not already provided by Canada? Would Denmark be prepared to invest billions to provide for their share of North American aerospace defence or would it simply be a continuation of the primarily US funded Greenland based installations? Most of the article highlights the benefits to Denmark/Greenland of being included in NORAD but it doesn't ask the one and only question. How does it benefit the United States?

Starlink, skis and frozen batteries: Army seeks ‘bespoke’ kit for Arctic warfare

“If you sweat, you die,” said Maj. Gen. Brian Eifler, commander of the Alaska-based 11th Airborne Division. “That’s the environment we’re talking about... the harshest environment on the planet.”​

Two recipes for success:
1. Need less
2. Move faster

. Because one must be in constant motion to maintain body temperature, SIRIUS travel clothing is light. This principle works perfectly, and in the history of SIRIUS there has never been any serious freezing accidents during the regular travel. Only when crossing smooth ice, free of snow cover, one might dress heavily and ride the sled.
Advice from the Danes who conduct their patrols by dogsled.
New release on US Arctic Strategy.

The overall sense I am getting of the US approach to the Arctic is that it seems to be morphing from the militaristic to something more Canadian.

Yes. It is possible to fight in the Arctic.
But. It is extremely difficult to fight at scale in the Arctic.

Some of the biggest hindrances are the lack of fundamental supports found south of the Arctic Circle, things like electronic and physical communications systems and navigation systems. In the south those are supplied and supported by commercial enterprises and people spending money. In the north.... no people, no money.

Also things that work in sunlight in the deserts of the equator don't work in the dark of the arctic.

The Danish Sirius Patrol is named for the Dog Star or Canis Major.


It is visible at night. Which means most of the time during the dark months of October to March (plus or minus) when the Danes are skiing and sledding across their patch of the Arctic.

They are successfully navigating by the stars and the moon in the same manner that the Inuit and the Vikings used to do.

Northerners do things differently.

Arctic strategy implementation plan calls for enhanced military comms, sensing and PNT​

The White House's new implementation plan is a follow-up to the administration's 2022 Arctic strategy.
OCTOBER 23, 2023
Special operators conduct training in austere conditions at Pituffik Space Base, Greenland, on May 9, 2023, in support of exercise ARCTIC EDGE 2023. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Andrew Adams)
The White House on Monday published the implementation plan for its 10-year Arctic strategy, including new directives for the Defense Department to bolster security and deter adversary activity in the region.
The document follows the publication of the Biden-Harris administration’s strategy, released in 2022, that outlined four pillars related to emerging issues in the Arctic — one of which called on the Pentagon to develop capabilities for enhanced military operations. The other three focused on the long-term impacts of climate change, economic development and international partnerships.
The plan now lists broad strategic security-related objectives — improving understanding of the Arctic operating environment, increasing presence in the region and working with relevant allies and partners — that also includes specific actions for the Defense Department and other federal agencies to take to deter aggression in the region.
“Our security in the Arctic is inclusive of many interests, from national defense and homeland security to safe commercial and scientific activities. However, the Arctic environment poses region-specific challenges that require tailored technology, assets, infrastructure, training, and planning,” the implementation plan states. “To secure our interests as attention, investments, and activity grow in the Arctic over the coming decades, the United States will enhance and exercise both our military and civilian capabilities in the Arctic as required to deter threats and to anticipate, prevent, and respond to both natural and human-made incidents.”

The original strategy pointed to both Russia’s increased military posture and China’s plans to grow its influence in the region as areas of concern for national security. In order to keep tabs on adversaries and track potential threats, the new plan calls for improvements to domain awareness capabilities. That includes making investments to replace and upgrade outdated systems and infrastructure, expand coverage of the Arctic and incorporate emerging technologies.
The Pentagon will partner with Arctic nations to conduct research and development tailored for operations in the region — specifically with Canada to “modernize, improve and better integrate” capabilities for the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), per the document.
Having persistent and accurate eyes in far northern latitudes is a top priority for leaders at NORAD. And the joint U.S.-Canadian organization is seeking capabilities — from long-range radars to artificial intelligence — that will offer better domain awareness.
The White House also directed the Defense Department to put funds towards updating current and developing new real-time observation, modeling and data analytic capabilities for the region.
Much of the directives for the Pentagon are focused on capabilities that are used to monitor the weather — including investments across the next five-to-seven years for the Navy’s Oceanographic and Atmospheric Master Library’s Ambient Noise Database and a Space Force-led effort to develop a real-time model of the ionosphere “to monitor and provide data on environmental conditions unique to the Arctic region and thus afford opportunities to predict and potentially mitigate the effects of changes in the natural environment.”

In addition, the implementation plan calls on both the Pentagon and NASA to “improve communications and positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) capabilities by developing communications and data networks capable of operating in the northern latitudes.”
Satellite communications and GPS availability in the Arctic are extremely limited for the U.S. military, as the connecting data links become unstable due to long distances needed to operate in the environment. A number of services are exploring new ways to offer more reliable capabilities for the region, such as low-Earth orbit (LEO) constellations.
NASA is tasked with evaluating existing and emerging U.S. commercial space-based assets — particularly LEO satcom constellations — in order to “assess their sufficiency to fulfill the identified requirements and user needs” by mid-fiscal 2024, according to the implementation plan. The agency will also create a framework dedicated to potential partnerships related to future satcom needs in the Arctic by the end of fiscal 2024, it noted.
On the other hand, the Defense Department will assess the availability of the global positioning system in the region — both as a stand-alone capability and in combination with similar allied space-based capabilities like Europe’s Galileo and Japan’s Quasi-Zenith — among other directives to enhance Arctic-based situational awareness and communications, according to the document.
Along with improved capabilities, the Arctic strategy implementation plan seeks to deter potential hostile activity with enhanced force posture and Arctic-focused military exercises.

“The United States will maintain and, as driven by requirements, refine and advance our military presence in the Arctic in support of our homeland defense, global military and power projection, and deterrence goals,” the document states. “We will make targeted investments to strategically enhance security infrastructure as required to enable these aims, while building the resilience of critical infrastructure to protect against both climate change and cyberattacks.”
The White House is directing the Pentagon to leverage region-specific military exercises, like Arctic Edge and Arctic Challenge, that are conducted with allies and partners “to develop and strengthen homeland defense plans in the Arctic and exercise Joint presence,” in addition to other training for cold-weather and Arctic operations.
Finally, the Pentagon is charged with coordinating with allies and partners in the Arctic to not only understand the region but also improve overall deterrence and readiness. The implementation plan directs enhanced partnerships with Canada, Arctic NATO nations, Alaska and Alaska Native and rural communities for a range of activities — including combined exercises, training on cold-weather ops and overall interoperability.
Anyone have a reasonably informed opinion on this article from the Macdonald-Laurier Institute?
Interesting premise.

However the arctic isn’t a great environment for airships, and while they can’t be useful in some places, the Arctic wouldn’t be the area I think would be a great fit, simply as the protected storage requirements for them are significant, and the weather they can operate in is limited.
Anyone have a reasonably informed opinion on this article from the Macdonald-Laurier Institute?
Mr. Campbell, I believe that idea had been…..floated….a few times. I know personally of one person involved and who moved on. One of the biggest challenges that isn’t talked about too much in the pitch documentation…high winds in the Arctic. Airspeed - headwind/tailwind = ground speed…it makes for some interesting math at times.
Mr. Campbell, I believe that idea had been…..floated….a few times. I know personally of one person involved and who moved on. One of the biggest challenges that isn’t talked about too much in the pitch documentation…high winds in the Arctic. Airspeed - headwind/tailwind = ground speed…it makes for some interesting math at times.

Near the Arctic Circle on the Auyuittuq traverse demonstrating our impression of the average wind speed.

We estimated wind gusts at around 60kph+, which were pretty common, with the average day time wind speed idling at around 30kph I reckon.

At night, the average speed increased to 'howling like a banshee'. Tents were best pitched in the lee of a giant boulder, pegged down with giant boulders ;)

So is Nanisivik necessary?
I have to wonder if it would have been better to build a new facility closer to the existing community? Canada needs to triple it's infrastructure in the North, starting with Ports, Airports, communications. with those in place, start increasing the road/rail network and waterway network. Including slowly build ice roads into more year round road where possible.