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Showing posts from August, 2022

Biden Elevates Arctic Policy with Ambassador-at-Large

On August 26, 2022, President Biden moved Arctic policy higher on the national agenda with the announcement of a new  ambassador-at-large position for the Arctic region: "The Ambassador-at-Large for the Arctic Region will advance U.S. policy in the Arctic, engage with counterparts in Arctic and non-Arctic nations as well as Indigenous groups, and work closely with domestic stakeholders, including state, local, and Tribal governments, businesses, academic institutions, non-profit organizations, other federal government agencies and Congress." Once a nominee is selected that person will have to be confirmed by the Senate. Arctic policy is currently overseen by a coordinator within the State Department, so this escalation has the potential to significantly increase activity in the policy sphere. The move follows on other recent actions by the administration focused on the Arctic, such as the reactivation of the Arctic Steering Committee last year. The announcement also comes a

Arctic Chiefs of Defence Forum Convenes for First Time Since 2014

On hiatus since Russia's 2014 invasion of Crimea, the Arctic Chiefs of Defense Forum - less Russia - convened in St. John's, Canada, on August 8, to discuss cooperation among the nations. Russia indicated in January it wanted to resume these meeting s after assuming its second two-year chair of the Arctic Council last year. This was short-circuited by their March invasion of Ukraine, which caused all the non-Russian members of the Council to issue a joint statement suspending participation in the Council. It is unclear that Russian participation in the Forum would have any utility, and in fact it could actually be counterproductive as Russia would use the Forum to attempt to normalize its extralegal behavior, both in the Arctic and elsewhere. Canadian Chief of the Defence Staff, General Wayne Eyr, stated after the meeting , "We will continue to work closely with our allies and partners in strengthening our domain awareness, surveillance, and command and control capabili

Control Over Arctic Ocean Top Priority Of New Russian Naval Doctrine

By Rob Huebert, associate professor at the University of Calgary and a senior research fellow with the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies, August 4, 2022,  High North News - " Russia’s new 55-page naval doctrine places significant emphasis on the Arctic outlining the country’s priorities in the region and mentioning the Arctic across 22 pages." In a mirror image of the way US and NATO strategy documents identify Russia and China as security concerns in the Arctic, the Russian document similarly classifies the US and NATO. Of particular note is a comment by Dmitry Litovkin, editor-in-chief of the TASS magazine Military-Technical Cooperation: "The Ministry of Defense is building an icebreaking fleet, and these are not just icebreakers that will be engaged in port activities, they have an "open stern" principle, respectively, a helicopter can be landed on this stern, or a sea container can be placed, which will contain cruise missiles, torpedo launchers a

Murkowski to Introduce Bill Aimed At Boosting U.S. Influence in Arctic

August 3, 2022 - Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski introduced a " comprehensive Arctic bill [focused] on national security, research, shipping, and trade... It requires reports on eliminating Russia’s monopoly on Arctic shipping and establishing a permanent U.S. maritime presence in the Arctic. It calls for investments in deepwater Arctic ports and improves coordination among federal agencies on Arctic matters." Cosponsored by Maine Independent Sen. Angus King, the bill details include: Eliminating a Russian monopoly on Arctic shipping; Establishing a permanent maritime presence in the U.S. Arctic at multiple Alaska ports; Amending the Deepwater Port Act of 1974 to allow the export of liquefied natural gas, hydrogen, and ammonia; Amending the Arctic Research and Policy Act of 1984 to reflect the importance of research pertaining to climate change and the critical role of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission; Permanently establishing the Arctic Executive Steering Committee

Coast Guard Hosts Senior Leader Arctic Orientation Visit to Strengthen Partnerships in the Arctic

Coast Guard Hosts Senior Leader Arctic Orientation Visit to Strengthen Partnerships in the Arctic , by Homeland Security Today, July 28, 2022. "The Coast Guard 17th District, and Sector Anchorage hosted visitors from Washington, D.C., in Anchorage, Alaska, July 18-19, 2022, to improve unity of effort in the region. The two-day tour provided policy makers and mission managers exposure to the expanded missions, emerging threats, and key regional stakeholders throughout the Arctic domain." The US Coast Guard is a critical player in Alaska, given its extensive coastline, proximity to Russia, and access to the Northern Sea Route. Integrated Support Command Kodiak is the largest US Coast Guard base at 23,000 acres, and the only one to host both aircraft and ships. The visit exposed attendees to the effects of climate change and facilitated the development of relationships to better coordinate the efforts of policy makers and mission managers.

Army Tackles Arctic Challenges Alongside European Allies

Army Tackles Arctic Challenges Alongside European Allies , by Mikayla Easley, August 2, 2022 in National Defense Magazine . The author covers the renewed emphasis on Arctic operations by the US Army, including the Army's 2021 strategy document,  Regaining Arctic Dominance: The US Army in the Arctic . During a discussion of Army strategy at a recent defense defense exhibition in Paris, Maj. Gen. Peter Andrysiak, deputy commander of U.S. Army Europe and Africa, stated, " “We have a significant gap in operating in areas of extreme cold, … in high levels of snowfall and in mountainous terrain,” Closing this gap is critical in the face of expanded Arctic presence and operations by Russian and China. France and Finland have facilities that allow regular large-scale training in Arctic conditions. The US Army in the 1990s did the same in Alaska, when I graduated from the mountain warfare course at the Black Rapids Training Site, operated by the Northern Warfare Training Center at Ft.

Satellite Images Show Huge Russian Military Buildup in the Arctic

Satellite Images Show Huge Russian Military Buildup in the Arctic , by Nick Walsh, CNN, April 5, 2021: "Russia is amassing unprecedented military might in the Arctic and testing its newest weapons in a region freshly ice-free due to the climate emergency, in a bid to secure its northern coast and open up a key shipping route from Asia to Europe." Walsh uses imagery from Maxar to show the extent of Russian military expansion along the Northern Sea Route (NSR). This is primarily being accomplished by updating Cold War-era bases, deploying advanced existing weapons systems, and testing new ones including the Poseidon 2M39 nuclear stealth torpedo and the Tsirkon hypersonic anti-ship cruise missile. Russia likely sees the newly open waters of the NSR as a strategic vulnerability as well as providing new economic opportunities for natural resource extraction and commercial shipping. The latter could affect 90 percent of world shipping as "The 'NSR' potentially halves