The Arctic: a wait and see approach to defending the homeland

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Authors
Hegedusich, William
Subjects
Arctic
scenario planning
strategic patience
persistence
strategy absence
Advisors
Dew, Nicholas
Date of Issue
2017-12
Date
Dec-17
Publisher
Monterey, California: Naval Postgraduate School
Language
Abstract
When it comes to the Arctic, there is no lack of planning, debating, studying, or shortage of opinions as to what the U.S. should or should not do in this region of extremes. Should the United States spend billions on icebreakers that when completed may not have ice to break, ignore the region and hope the rest of the world follows suit, or worse, militarize the region for an unknown future threat? Given the budget-constrained environment and lack of threat to the U.S. national security from the Arctic, is there another option or method to allow policy makers to envision a different future for the Arctic, one requiring them to wait and do nothing, knowing with some certainty that taking no action is the right decision at this moment in time? Using scenario planning, this thesis examines four future scenarios for the Arctic and evaluates the strategic patience and persistence strategy introduced in the 2015 National Security Strategy to understand better the costs, risks, and benefits of doing little or nothing in the Arctic. Given the uncertainties in the Arctic and faced with greater threats to the homeland, the strategic patience and persistence strategy is a viable approach to pursue in the Arctic, which allows the U.S. to achieve its national Arctic goals.
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Thesis
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Department
National Security Affairs (NSA)
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Distribution Statement
Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.
Rights
This publication is a work of the U.S. Government as defined in Title 17, United States Code, Section 101. Copyright protection is not available for this work in the United States.
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