Russia Returns to Cold War Posture in the Pacific

April 17, 2015  

A senior commander of US forces in the Pacific revealed to the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday that Russia’s military activities and nuclear presence in the area are returning to a Cold War posture.

Adm. Samuel Locklear said, “Russia in the last few months has returned to, I would say, nearly a Cold War level of activity that goes towards our homeland, with long-range attacks, exercises and those types of things,” reports the Washington Times.

“We also know that Russia will improve their strategic nuclear deterrent on what’s thought as their east coast, which is in the Northern Pacific,” added the four-star admiral.

Locklear also testified to the committee of the House of Representatives that Russia is expanding its submarine forces in Asia, and is trying to expand its presence in the Arctic region, as well as Northeast and Southeast Asia, while “reasserting itself” politically and militarily in the Pacific.

The commander described how Russian navy and long-range aviation “recently increased significantly, but not above Cold War levels. Though challenged by maintenance and logistical issues, Russian Navy cruisers, destroyers and frigates have increased their operations and reach.”

That expansion in various parts of the globe was seen clearly in November of 2013, when Russia sent its most powerful warships to the Mediterranean Sea, deploying its navy to the Middle East even as the US navy pulled out of the region.

“Russian [Tu-95] Bear bombers and reconnaissance aircraft regularly fly missions in the Sea of Japan and continue operations as far east as Alaska and the West Coast of the continental U.S.,” Locklear detailed.

He added that a new Borei-class of ballistic missile submarines is to be unveiled later this year by Russia, along with land-based missile upgrades that “will modernize Moscow’s nuclear capability in the Asia-Pacific.”

Even as he appraised the growing Russian stance, Locklear condemned US President Barack Obama’s vast military budget cuts and the effect they will have on America’s footing vis-a-vis the Russians.

In particular he pointed out shortcomings in US capabilities in the Pacific such as a dearth of undersea warfare capabilities, as well as a lack of intelligence alongside surveillance and reconnaissance assets, space systems, command-and-control capabilities and cyberwarfare.

Locklear also warned about a lack of munitions, air and missile defense systems, and even fuel and airlift capabilities.

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