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Engage in the Arctic Now or Risk Being Left Out in the Cold: Establishing a JIATF-High North

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Final rept.

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Predictions vary regarding the time-line of when relatively ice free summers in the Arctic will occur, however the most aggressive of these models have shown an estimate as early as 2013. According to Professor Maslowski at the Naval Post Graduate School, who proposed this timeline, this estimate might even be too cautious. Time will show which prediction is correct, but either way, the fact remains that increased activity in the Arctic is becoming a reality. The signing of NSPD 66HSPD 25 by former President Bush as well as the establishment of Task Force Climate Change by the Chief of Naval Operations followed by the development of an Arctic Roadmap for the Navy show that the importance of the Arctic to the National Security of the United States is being taken seriously by the powers that be. With the United States involved in two wars as well as current budget constraints, there is a limit to how much action can be taken towards securing the Arctic interests in a timely fashion. However, as Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper so aptly noted, the first principle of Arctic sovereignty is use it or lose it. He also stated that, To develop the North, we must know the North. To protect the North, we must control the North. And to accomplish all our goals for the North, we must be in the North. The United States would be well served to heed these words of wisdom. By expeditiously establishing a Joint Interagency Task Force - High North, two major steps towards securing the United States interests in the Arctic could be immediately realized. It would send a much needed signal to all Arctic Stakeholders that the United States is committed to ensuring a peaceful and cooperative Arctic environment, while also physically establishing a foundational organization within the Arctic to protect the countrys vital national interests.

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  • Geography
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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