climate change response capabilities within the NATO alliance could strengthen global climate change response capabilities and the alliance itself.


The Arctic region covers some 8,100,000 square miles, with volatile weather and very harsh, rapidly changing conditions. Operations in the area, as covered in earlier chapters, are expensive and difficult and require significant and unique resources and training. Changing Arctic conditions are already reshaping geostrategic relationships, including for non-Arctic nations. Indeed, a number of other nations possess Arctic capabilities that exceed those of the United States, and not all of these nations are allies or even frontline Arctic states.

There are eight “frontline” Arctic nations—Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the United States—many with unresolved claims in the region. In addition, Russia, Canada, Norway, and Denmark are all expanding their Arctic military capabilities.17 Earlier this year, the Russian Security Council posted on its website a paper describing the country’s Arctic strategy. The document calls for a new military force to be established by 2020 to protect Russian interests in the region. The Russian strategy also calls for building up military units to secure Arctic coastal borders.18 Likewise, Canada’s “Northern Strategy” documents, published in September 2009, emphasize border protection and the exercise of Canada’s sovereignty over its Arctic lands and waters. Norway, Sweden, and Finland have banded together in the Nordic Defense Cooperation Initiative, in part to share and coordinate military resources in the region.19

The United States has cooperated routinely with all of these nations on Arctic matters. This has been done on a bilateral basis and through NATO, as well as through the Arctic Council, scientific partnerships, and ad hoc arrangements. Thus far, disagreements on regional issues have been resolved without conflict.20 Related to this, the committee held discussions on anticipated Arctic issues and


Noel Brinkerhoff. 2009. “U.S. Navy Prepares for Militarization of the Arctic,” All Government, November 30.


See Katarzyna Zysk, 2010, “Russia’s Arctic Strategy, Ambitions and Constraints,Joint Forces Quarterly, Issue 57, 2nd Quarter. See also “New Russian Maritime Strategy Highlights Arctic”; available at Accessed June 4, 2010.


See Canada’s Northern Strategy documents at Accessed February 14, 2011. The committee was also briefed by Ross Graham, Director General, Defence Research and Development Canada, Center for Operational Research and Analysis, February 4, 2010. Norway’s Arctic strategy was presented to the committee on March 22, 2010, by MajGen Tom H. Knutsen, Defense Attaché, Royal Norwegian Embassy, Washington, D.C.


In discussions on March 5, 2010, with this committee, ADM James G. Stavridis, USN, Commander of the United States European Command and NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), stated that the United States and NATO, while aware of areas of disagreement with Russia, will seek a cooperative strategy with Russia in the Arctic region.

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