The Corps plans to add another 300 Marines to its rotation in Norway, the top Marine said Tuesday at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island.
Currently about 330 Marines from 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment based out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, make up the Corps’ rotation in Norway. Three hundred additional Marines that currently are in Romania will be moving to Norway.
Speaking at the Naval War College on Tuesday, Commandant Gen. Robert B. Neller said the Corps had just received approval for the additional Marines in Norway on Tuesday.
The Corps is currently on its third six-month rotation to Norway, where Marines have been practicing operating in extreme cold-weather environments for a potential heavyweight bout with Russia.
Even though the Marine Corps’ footprint in Europe is small, it may prove pivotal should a fight break out in the Baltics or the high north.
Neller has previously voiced concerns about the Corps’ need to boost its cold weather training in the region.
Norway’s defense minister Frank Bakke-Jensen had previously stated his desire to reach a decision on the U.S. troop increase in Norway during the summer.
“This is an important part of the NATO membership, to have allied troops [visiting] in Norway and training with us. So for us, it’s important, but we need to do some work on the numbers, on where they are supposed to exercise,” Bakke-Jensen previously said.
Analysts have criticized the small rotation of Marines in the region. Some have argued that if the Corps wants to be successful in a cold-weather fight, the force needs to send Marines and equipment from headquarters and command elements, not just a handful of grunts.
There are just over a couple thousand Marines in Europe all together, with the brunt of the force spread between Spain and Italy.
Norway will host a major NATO exercise this fall called Trident Juncture that will have nearly 40,000 participants.