Arctic FONOPs in the Northern Sea Route
NAVAL WAR COLLEGE NEWPORT RI NEWPORT United States
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Melting sea ice in the Arctic has created two important opportunities increased access to Arctic resources and improved seafaring and shipping ability. The Northern Sea Route NSR is a network of passages north of Russia connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans that Russia claims as internal waters. As such, Russia asserts it right to require shipowners request permission and pay a fee to transit the NSR. The United States and the majority of the international community dispute Russias territorial NSR claim, yet, currently no state is challenging Russias claims with freedom of navigation operations FONOPs such as the United States does routinely in many other areas of the world. This paper describes the strategic importance of the Arctic and NSR, analyzes the current capability gaps preventing the United States from conducting FONOPs in the NSR, and provides recommendations to mitigate these gaps.
- Snow, Ice and Permafrost
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics