Arctic will become ‘contested’ without US presence and partnerships, 2nd Fleet CO warns

“But if we aren’t present there, and if we aren’t continuing to build those partnerships, it will be a contested space,” said [2nd Fleet Commander Vice Admiral Andrew] Lewis, who also heads NATO’s Joint Force Command Norfolk.

Failure to maintain presence in the Arctic would “cede the space to the Russians or somebody else,” Lewis said, adding that it could also become a space where conflict arises.

[In January Lewis said the ] Arctic could become the next contested space, noting the Russians were reinvigorating their military capabilities in the Arctic in an attempt to make it a militarily contested zone.

“That is not in the common interests of the other Arctic nations, and what we cannot allow to happen,” Lewis said.