Following Push By Sullivan & King, Defense Department Advances New Arctic Strategy

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Dan Sullivan (R-AK) and Angus King (I-ME), both members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, announced the release of the Department of Defense’s (DoD) 2016 Arctic Strategy. Sens. Sullivan and King sponsored an amendment to the FY 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that required “an updated military strategy for the protection of United States national security interests in the Arctic region.” Such a strategy must include “a description of operational plans and associated military requirements for the protection of United States national security interests in the Arctic region, including United States citizens, territory, freedom of navigation, and economic and trade interests.” 

“After nearly two years of advocacy and bipartisan efforts, I am pleased that we finally have a much more serious military strategy for the Arctic region,” said Senator Dan Sullivan. “While this strategy is not perfectincluding a failure to offer how best to counter the common threat it identifiesit is a dramatic improvement from the 2013 version which was more platitudes and pictures than actual substance. I am hopeful that the entire Department of Defense, our new President, and the country will take a serious look at this document and begin to formulate how our country will safeguard our interests, and that of our allies, in this strategically-important region. We are an Arctic nation and with this important strategy, we are starting to act like one.”  

“This strategy, which is the culmination of years of bipartisan effort, represents an important and necessary step forward in defining our national security interests in the Arctic and finally addressing the capabilities that the United States will need to defend them,” Senator Angus King said. “This strategy, however, is only one component of what must become a broader policy that addresses all of our Arctic interests and it is up to Congress and the new Administration to develop and implement that comprehensive policy in an expedited manner. If we do not, we risk ceding our influence in the Arctic to others who may not share our objectives. I look forward to continuing to work with Senator Sullivan and Senator Murkowski in this important effort.”

The Department of Defense’s Arctic Strategy specifically details “the ways and means DoD intends to achieve its objectives … These include enhancing the capability of U.S. forces to defend the homeland and exercise sovereignty; strengthening deterrence at home and abroad; strengthening alliances and partnerships; preserving freedom of the seas in the Arctic; and evolving DoD Arctic infrastructure and capabilities consistent with changing conditions.” Notably, the new strategy also includes a classified annex. 

To read the unclassified Department of Defense Arctic Strategy, CLICK HERE.