The U.S. and Russia are in a fourth battle for the Atlantic, the commander of the U.S. 6th fleet Vice Admiral James Foggo III warns in the June issue of Proceedings.
Foggo compared Russia’s recent probing of U.S. anti-submarine defenses to the U.S. battle with Germany in World Wars 1 and 2, and US-Soviet submarine subterfuge during the Cold War. Foggo further noted Russia’s “national-security policy is aimed at challenging the United States and its NATO allies and partners.”
Indeed, Ukraine and eastern Europe are not the only national security challenges Washington faces from the likes of Russia. There’s a challenge lurking just under the waves in the Atlantic.
“Russia’s latest generation of submarines are a serious threat for the US and NATO,” Boris Zilberman, a Russia expert at the Foundation for Defense Democracies, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. Zilberman likened Russian submarine probing of U.S. anti-submarine defenses to the recent high profile Russian intercepts of U.S. jets. In April Russian fighter jets flew within 30 feet of a U.S. destroyer in the Baltic Sea prompting a formal protest by the U.S. Embassy in Moscow to the Russian government.
The head of Russia’s navy, Admiral Viktor Chirkov, acknowledged in March Russian submarine activity had increased over 50 percent since January 2014. Chirkov told Sputnik international news “This is logical and necessary to guarantee the security of the [Russian] state.”
Zilberman elaborated to the DCNF that Russia’s rise in submarine activity is a message “that Russia has global power that it is willing to use to maintain its interests.” Foggo further warned that Russian submarine activity combined with its forward deployed forces in Syria have “the capability to hold nearly all NATO maritime forces at risk.”
Foggo also noted that Russia’s use of its new missile system on the Syrian battlefield demonstrates Russia “will use such weapons at will” and “without the same qualms that [the U.S.] has about collateral damage.” Magnus Nordenman, an expert at the Atlantic Council told the New York Times, “The U.S. and NATO haven’t focused on anti-submarine operations lately, and they’ve let that skill deteriorate.”
U.S. Admiral John Richardson speaking on Russian submarine activity to the New York Times said “We’re back to the great powers competition.”
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