PACOM: RUSSIA RETURNS TO COLD WAR
Russian military activities and strategic nuclear forces are returning to a Cold War-era posture, the commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific said Wednesday.
“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,” Adm. Samuel Locklear, the commander, told the House Armed Services Committee. “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.”
Russia is also building up its submarine forces in Asia, and Moscow’s military forces are seeking increased influence in the Arctic region, Northeast Asia and Southeast Asia, Adm. Locklear testified.
The four-star admiral said increasing Russian activities, along with threats from North Korea and China, are being monitored closely with intelligence and surveillance systems.
In his prepared statement to the committee, Adm. Locklear said Russia is “reasserting itself” politically and militarily in the Pacific.
Russian navy and long-range aviation “recently increased significantly, but not above Cold War levels,” he stated. “Though challenged by maintenance and logistical issues, Russian Navy cruisers, destroyers and frigates have increased their operations and reach,” with Russian warships sailing to the Middle East and Europe, and Russian Baltic fleet ships sailing to the Asia-Pacific.
“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.,” he said.
Another concern is Russia’s deployment of a new class of ballistic missile submarine, the Borei-class, later this year, along with upgrades to Russian land-based missiles that “will modernize Moscow’s nuclear capability in the Asia-Pacific,” the admiral said.
Russian ballistic missile and attack submarines are also active in the Pacific, as Moscow seeks to demonstrate military capabilities in the region.
The Pacific commander also voiced concerns about maintaining U.S. military readiness in the face of sharp Obama administration budget cuts. Adm. Locklear outlined a number of shortcomings in U.S. force capabilities in the region, including gaps with undersea warfare capabilities; lack of intelligence; surveillance and reconnaissance assets; shortcomings in space systems; battle management and command-and-control; and cyberwarfare, munitions, air and missile defenses, fuel and airlift.