The U.S. Navy says it is considering sending surface ships into the Arctic this summer and that it could establish a new strategic port facility in the Bering Sea to support more of those patrols in the future. These announcements come as the ice in the region continues to recede, opening up new maritime trade routes and other economic opportunities, as well as the possibility of conflict over competing interests. This has already prompted America's “great power” competitors, especially Russia, to dramatically expand their military presence in the far north.
Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer discussed his service's plans for the Arctic at a gathering at the Center for a New American Security think tank in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 8, 2019. He did not say what ships might be headed for the Arctic later this year or when and where exactly that deployment might occur.