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U.S. Arctic Security

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Research paper

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The time to start shaping the U.S. Arctic security interests is now. The Arctic offers both commercial opportunity and security if it is successfully implemented into U.S. national policy objectives and strategy. With 90 billion barrels of oil throughout 400 oil fields, the region is destined to be bustling with exploration in the next ten years. Additionally, global warming trends and shrinking Arctic ice will open waterways and shorten commerce routes between the east and west to create a continuous flow of goods and people through the far north. The time to expand and create new infrastructure consistent with objectives is now. The hazards of waiting too long to fully engage could mean the U.S. loses the opportunity to shape the security, commerce, and environment for the future. It could also mean a much greater investment to achieve its objectives later. Arctic Council policy and governance discussions as well as joint military training exercises are a step in the right direction. The U.S. Coast Guard alone has increased its presence as much as possible within the constraints of limited resources and Joint Task Force Alaska established a command and control center to process information and provide situational awareness for key decision makers. Although these are steps in the right direction, more is needed. Involvement from NATO would provide the presence, shared information, joint training, and combined resource acquisition needed to create a stable and secure environment in the ensuing rush. Establishment of U.S. Arctic Command could also be another brick in the foundation of U.S. Arctic security needs. Instead of waiting until the security gap is exploited, like the U.S. did with the establishment of NORTHCOM post 911 attacks, lawmakers should take these steps now.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Military Forces and Organizations

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