Russia and U.S. still aggressively trailing each other's submarines in Arctic
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What is certain, however, is that the Russian Arctic-based Northern Fleet is continually “stalked” by American (and perhaps British and French) fast-attack submarines from the moment the Russian sub- marines leave port. While, as noted above, the number of Russian “boomer” patrols has sharply declined since the days of the Cold War, the underwater games of “cat and mouse” continue as before, and several near-collisions have been reported as the Russian subs become increasingly successful in shaking off their American “tails.”54 The Cold War is not entirely over beneath the rapidly melting Arctic ice, and Russia’s nuclear submarine bases north of the Arctic Circle are yet another powerful signal that the Russians intend to enforce their claims in the Arctic. So, while the prospects of major progress on U.S.- Russian bilateral disarmament have never been brighter, the gradual rebuilding of the Russian Northern Fleet’s roster of ballistic missile submarines and the ongoing mission of American SSN’s to track them aggressively has meant increased rather than decreased U.S.-Russian naval competition.
Russia has made no secret of their ambitious and aggressive plans for dominating the Arctic region and its resources. U.S. inattention to their advances could pose a long-term strategic threat to U.S. national security.