Sen. Murphy Wants More U.S. Subs In The Arctic

Mar 22, 2016

Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Alexandria is submerged after surfacing through two feet of ice during a U.S. Navy and Royal Navy exercise conducted on and under a drifting ice floe off the north coast of Alaska. The Alexandria was built by Groton-based Electric Boat. U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Shawn P. Eklund.
Credit Marion Doss / Creative Commons

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) says Russia is expanding its military presence in the Arctic, and the United States needs to step up its submarine building plans if it wants to keep pace.

“The Russians are building new classes of submarines faster than we are. Their pace rivals that of the Cold War. You know the Russians are increasingly making claims on the Arctic, and running submarines in and around the region as a way to stake those claims,” Murphy said.

Murphy made those remarks on Monday after he spent the weekend in the Arctic where he received classified briefings with high level military officials in the region.

One reason why there’s tension over the Arctic is because whoever owns those waterways will have control over how commercial shipping in the area is governed. The U.S. wants most of the waters to be international so that boats can travel more freely. Murphy says that as climate change causes ice to melt and move, new waterways will develop in the region. He saw that ice moving this weekend while he stayed at a military camp on an ice floe.

“That ice is moving and melting fast. The ice floe the camp was on was moving at a speed of four miles per day. The ice is moving and melting in a robust pace in the Arctic today, and we’ve got to understand what the implications are for human life and the traffic of boats and submarines.”

Murphy also went on a research trip with a submarine made in Connecticut by Electric Boat. A schedule proposed by the Navy would have the U.S. funding Electric Boat to build about two submarines annually through the 2020s. Murphy wants the U.S. to fund even more.