New Navy, Marine Corps Strategic Blueprint for the Arctic

January 5, 2021 4:07 PM

The following is the Department of the Navy document, A Strategic Blueprint for the Arctic that was released on Jan. 5, 2020.

From the report

The United States is a maritime nation. We are also an Arctic nation. Our security, prosperity, and vital interests in the Arctic are increasingly linked to those of other nations in and out of the region. America’s interests are best served by fostering compliance with existing rules to assure a peaceful and prosperous Arctic Region – stretching from Maine in the North Atlantic across the Arctic Ocean through the Bering Strait and Alaska in the North Pacific to the southern tip of the Aleutian Island chain.

In the decades ahead, rapidly melting sea ice and increasingly navigable Arctic waters – a Blue Arctic – will create new challenges and opportunities off our northern shores. Without sustained American naval presence and partnerships in the Arctic Region, peace and prosperity will be increasingly challenged by Russia and China, whose interests and values differ dramatically from ours.

Competing views of how to control increasingly accessible marine resources and sea routes, unintended military accidents and conflict, and spill-over of major power competition in the Arctic all have the potential to threaten U.S. interests and prosperity. These challenges are compounded by increasing risk of environmental degradation and disasters, accidents at sea, and displacement of people and wildlife as human activity increases in the region.

Despite containing the world’s smallest ocean, the Arctic Region has the potential to connect nearly 75% of the world’s population—as melting sea ice increases access to shorter maritime trade routes linking Asia, Europe and North America. Today, 90% of all trade travels across the world’s oceans – with seaborne trade expected to double over the next 15 years. Arctic waters will see increasing transits of cargo and natural resources to global markets along with military activity, regional maritime traffic, tourism, and legitimate/illegitimate global fishing fleets. The Beaufort, Chukchi, and Bering Seas are experiencing rapid sea ice loss, enabling greater access to waters off America’s Alaskan shores. An opening Arctic brings the United States closer to our northern neighbors to provide mutual assistance in times of need, while also enabling like-minded nations to defend the homeland, deter aggression and coercion, and protect Sea Lines of Communication. 3

The regional challenges facing the United States in the Arctic Region – from the changing physical environment and greater access to sea routes and resources, to increased military activity by China and Russia, including attempts to alter Arctic governance – have grown more complex and more urgent, while the rapid advance of authoritarianism and revisionists approaches in the maritime environment undermine our ability to collectively meet them. Peace and prosperity in the Arctic requires enhanced naval presence and partnerships.

Download the document here.

Get USNI News updates delivered to your inbox