NORFOLK, Va. - With the Arctic remaining a key part of the National Defense Strategy, Norfolk-based U.S. 2nd Fleet is joining a Canadian operation in the region this week.
The USS Thomas Hudner is joining members of the U.S. Coast Guard as well as Canadian Armed Forces, the French Navy, and the Royal Danish Navy for Operation NANOOK-TUUGAALIK 2020.
The maritime operation is designed "to exercise the defense of Canada and security in the region," according to U.S. 2nd Fleet.
As part of the National Defense Strategy, the U.S. has been focused on increasing presence in the Arctic and conducting operations with allies to strengthen information sharing.
Ordinarily, Operation NANOOK is much longer, but this year the exercise was shortened to due to the COVID-19 pandemic and is only being held at sea, with no planned port visits.
"We’re open for business," Vice Admiral Woody Lewis, U.S. 2nd Fleet Commander, told News 3 anchor Todd Corillo during a conference call Tuesday.
"We continue to operate in a very focused manner and we’ve got a lot of mission out there going on. It’s a COVID environment for sure and we’re also in the middle of hurricane season," Lewis added.
Operation NANOOK is scheduled to last through August 24.