Kathleen Hicks, Michael Matlaga, excerpts:
In general, Russian flyovers of the United States and other out-of-area activity have increased in recent years, particularly since its annexation of Crimea in 2014. These activities reached record highs in 2014 and 2017; so far, they are on track to decrease in 2018, but time will tell if that trend continues. Last year, U.S. F-22 Raptors and Canadian CF-18 Hornets intercepted the Russian TU-95 several times, including two TU-95s near Alaska last April and May. These upticks in Russian violations of airspace norms have led some policymakers to call for harsher responses to Russian activity and a clampdown on U.S.-Russia relations, even urging the United States’ withdrawal from Open Skies as a lever in the relationship.
At sea, the Prevention of Incidents on and Over the High Seas (INCSEA) governs a variety of maritime encounters between Russia and the United States. INCSEA establishes processes to avoid collisions in military-to-military encounters, establishes safe distances for surveillance, and prohibits simulated attacks against rival targets. To date, these norms have prevented major at-sea incidents between the two nations. Although the United States has detected Russian submarines and other surveillance vessels like the Viktor Leonov near the U.S. coast, there appear to have been fewer incidents of these vessels entering as far in as U.S. or Canadian territorial waters. This is not to say, however, that Russia has maintained good maritime behavior in waters near or important to North America. The United States and Canada remain highly concerned about the ability to secure sea lines of communication, especially given Russia’s aggressive probing of undersea cables in the Atlantic, targets that, if severed, could cut the United States and Canada off from global communications.
The United States is reawakening to the Russian threat to the Homeland, and its not all about elections and spies…Read this week’s Homeland column…
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Read more: The Russian Threat You're Not Hearing About