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A Cooperative Space Strategy for the Arctic: Policy, Strategy, and Operational Aspects of Polar Great Power Competition


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The Arctic is an emerging theater of strategic importance. Opening sea lines of communication and increased access to Arctic resources are forcing U.S. strategic planners and decision makers to address regional challenges. The reemergence of polar great power competition, coupled with rapid climate change, has drastically altered the strategic demand for space capabilities within the region. This thesis explored how the United States might benefit from a cooperative space strategy for the Arctic and whether the United States must build collaborative space capacity within the Arctic to achieve its stated strategic objectives within the region. While U.S. strategists have presented a clear case for strategic engagement and cooperation in the High North, the United States currently lacks a comprehensive Arctic strategy for space that encompasses the challenges, opportunities, and existing capabilities and gaps of U.S. allies and partners in the region related to the space domain. Although U.S. Arctic strategies have consistently highlighted the fundamental necessity to enhance Arctic domain awareness and the political and geostrategic challenges that the United States faces within the Arctic region, these strategies lack an overarching framework for allied and partner space cooperation to achieve these effects. This thesis investigates how the United States builds allied and partner space cooperation in the Arctic to reinforce U.S. strategic interests in the region.



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