May 4 (UPI) -- The Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group began Exercise North Edge 2021 in the Gulf of Alaska this week, according to the Navy.
"Carrier Strike Group Nine's collaboration with joint forces demonstrates to our partners that we are sharpening our capabilities to be ready for any mission that should present itself in this increasingly important Arctic region," Rear Adm. Doug Verissimo, Carrier Strike Group Nine's commander, said in a Navy press release.
U.S. Pacific Air Forces is hosting the exercise, which includes sailors, airmen, and Marines, who will train in the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complexes, Gulf of Alaska, which encompasses more than 60,000 miles of airspace throughout Alaska, according to the Navy.
The Makin Island Amphibious Readiness Group and embarked 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit are also participating in the exercise, along with other military units from installations in the continental United States and the Indo-Pacific command area of responsibility.
In all, about 15,000 U.S. service members, six U.S. Navy ships and 240 aircraft are participating in the exercise, which began Monday and lasts through May 14, according to an earlier release from the Navy.
Verissimo said the units' participation in Northern Edge 21 aligns with the Navy's Blue Arctic strategy, which was revealed in January.
That document noted that global warming is turning the Arctic region from ice-covered, or "white," to navigable, or "blue," and described increasing maritime activity by China and Russia in the region.
The exercises will include scenarios for defensive air combat, close air support, and aerial deterrence of maritime forces.
The goal is to provide high-end, realistic war fighter training and enhance the combat readiness of participating forces, according to officials.
"Northern Edge provides us with yet another opportunity to hone our skills and to practice tactics, techniques, and procedures that will better prepare us to work jointly," Capt. Eric Anduze, USS Theodore Roosevelt's commanding officer, said in the release.
"Our team looks forward to this challenge, and to improving our command-and-control capabilities with our sister services," Anduze said.