Washington (CNN)Marines are prepositioning battle tanks, artillery and logistics equipment inside Norwegian caves as the U.S. pushes to station equipment near the NATO-Russia frontier.
“Any gear that is forward-deployed both reduces cost and speeds up our ability to support operations in crisis, so we’re able to fall in on gear that is ready-to-go and respond to whatever that crisis may be,” Col. William Bentley, operations officer for the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, said in a statement Friday on the Norwegian deployment that called the caves classified.
The deployment of new equipment to the Cold War-era caves comes amid renewed tensions between NATO and Russia. Russia shares a 121.6-mile long border with Norway. The border was heavily militarized during the Cold War, and the Russian navy’s Northern Fleet is in Murmansk, about 100 miles from the border.
In October, Norway’s Chief of Defense, Adm. Haakon Bruun-Hanssen, told reporters that Russia has “shown that they are willing to use military force to achieve political ambitions.”
The climate-controlled caves are located throughout central Norway. The storage of American equipment there first began in 1981 during the Cold War in an effort to bolster NATO’s defenses against the Soviet Union, according to the Marines statement.
Heather Conley, director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Europe Program, told CNN that changes in the geopolitical landscape had once again made the caves a strategic asset.
“Now that we have a very new security context with Russia, it now makes sense to rethink what is needed,” she said.
Full article: U.S. stationing tanks and artillery in classified Norwegian caves (CNN)