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Lawmakers Want to Know if US Troops Are Ready for Arctic Warfare

Cpl. Thomas Powers explains the next movement to Cpl. Greggory Williams while conducting a routine patrol during the final exercise of cold-weather training aboard Porsangmoen, Norway, Feb. 16-20, 2016. (Photo By: Cpl. Immanuel Johnson)
Cpl. Thomas Powers explains the next movement to Cpl. Greggory Williams while conducting a routine patrol during the final exercise of cold-weather training aboard Porsangmoen, Norway, Feb. 16-20, 2016. (Photo By: Cpl. Immanuel Johnson)

Lawmakers want Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to submit a report to Congress on whether the U.S. military services have the equipment and training they need to survive in cold-weather combat.

The proposal appeared in the House Armed Services Committee's latest version of the "John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019."

Conferees want Mattis to submit a report to the congressional defense committees "not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act on current cold weather capabilities and readiness of the United States Armed Forces," the document states.

The report should include:

  • A description of current cold weather capabilities and training to support United States military operations in cold climates across the joint force;
  • A description of anticipated requirements for United States military operations in cold and extreme cold weather in the Arctic, Northeast Asia, and Northern and Eastern Europe;
  • A description of the current cold weather readiness of the joint force, the ability to increase cold weather training across the joint force, and any equipment, infrastructure, personnel, or resource limitations or gaps that may exist;
  • An analysis of potential opportunities to expand cold weather training for the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, and the Marine Corps and the resources or infrastructure required for such expansion;
  • An analysis of potential partnerships with state, local, tribal, and private entities to maximize training potential and to utilize local expertise, including traditional indigenous knowledge.

If the proposal makes it to President Donald Trump for approval, it could lead to improvements in cold-weather equipment and training U.S. troops receive.

-- Matthew Cox can be reached at matthew.cox@military.com.

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