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A Case Against Significant Military Expenditure in the Arctic

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[Technical Report, Final Report]

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Naval War College

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Year after year summer sea-ice coverage in the Arctic continues to decline, uncovering untold amounts of natural resources and the potential for new shipping routes across the Arctic to further connect Europe and Asia. As these economic opportunities emerge, so does the possibility of conflict as competitors seek to stake their claim in this previously untouched region. However, the Arctic remains cold,inhospitable, and difficult to access most of the year. Though summer sea-ice retreats further every year, the extent of winter sea-ice hasonly marginally decreased. U.S. Maritime Strategy has argued for an increased military presence in the Arctic in order to not cedeinfluence to Americas rivals. This paper explores counterpoints to stated U.S. Maritime Strategy in the Arctic, the possibility that many ofthe Arctics economic opportunities will not be economically viable for many years to come, and that the U.S. will not cede ground bytaking a more cautious approach expanding into the Arctic.


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[A, Approved For Public Release]