In the hit superhero film The Dark Knight Rises (2012), the antagonist, Bane (Tom Hardy), addresses protagonist Batman (Christian Bale) espousing his
advantage fighting in darkness “… you think darkness is your ally? You merely adopted the dark. I was born in it, molded by it …” In some ways, this quotation is
analogous to Russian and US military approaches to the Arctic. Certain US units train periodically for Arctic operations but cold weather is a normal condition for
the Russian military. Russian equipment is designed to operate in snow, ice, and swamp and at -50°C. Multiple formations are permanently stationed in the Arctic and other units train in the Arctic year-round. High-latitude rotations are routine, rather than exceptional.
Russia is the only US competitor with Arctic military forces. Russian Arctic military activity is one aspect of a long-term, global strategy,1 but the Arctic is
disproportionately emphasized compared to other regions2 and Russia is always preparing for Arctic conflict.3 Although the Arctic operational environment
is one of the more stable regions of the world and conflict over the Arctic is unlikely, conflict in the Arctic remains a matterof concern. This article
examines the Arctic operational environment, particularly as it relates to Russia, discusses Russia’s strategic approach to the Arctic, highlights the
Russian Army’s Arctic-positioned forces, and provides a description of several key operating platforms the Russian Army uses in the Arctic. The US Army
training community would be well-advised to take Russian Arctic capabilities seriously when designing and developing scenarios and scripts, in order to ensure the
Army is ready to face an adversary who is experienced, trained, equipped, well-positioned, and with more at stake in the region than anyone else.