Accession Number:

ADA525177

Title:

Arctic Defense Concerns: The Need to Reorganize United States Defense Structure to Meet Threats in a Changing Arctic Region

Descriptive Note:

Research paper

Corporate Author:

NAVAL WAR COLL NEWPORT RI JOINT MILITARY OPERATIONS DEPT

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

2010-05-03

Pagination or Media Count:

29.0

Abstract:

The strategic landscape of the Arctic region is rapidly changing as a result of the Earths changing climate. Global warming is causing the Arctic ice cap to retreat at an alarming rate. While the retreating ice cap may be a sign of humankinds negative impact on the environment, it also brings with it the promise of new opportunities. Arctic optimists foresee the emergence of new, shorter, and more secure trade routes in the High North. Additionally, scientists predict that the Arctic contains vast reserves of fossil fuels. The Arctic is estimated to contain significant deposits of undiscovered petroleum resources. This veritable fossil fuel bonanza could help to ease some of the worlds energy shortfalls and enrich the economies of those nations with the foresight and ability to capitalize on these resources. The vast, untapped potential of the Arctic is producing keen international competition in the region. This international competition is a cause for major concern, especially considering the lack of preparedness of the United States military for operations in the Arctic. The United States is significantly lagging behind Russia and all of the other Arctic nations in Arctic capabilities, preparedness, and strategy. To meet the emerging challenges in the Arctic, the United States must reevaluate its Arctic strategy and defense organization while seeking to improve its Arctic capabilities. This paper examines the current United States defense structure and military capability shortfalls in the Arctic. The strategic interests of the United States in the Arctic region can be best protected by incorporating all national efforts under a Joint Interagency Task Force, increasing the level of integration with Canada and the other NATO allies, and consolidating the region under a single Geographic Combatant Command -- U.S. Northern Command.

Subject Categories:

  • Geography
  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Defense Systems
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE