Arctic Defense Concerns Reorganizing U.S. Defense Structure to Meet Threats in the Changing Arctic
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"The strategic 'landscape' of the Arctic region is rapidly changing as a result of the Earth's changing climate. Global warming is causing the Arctic icecap to retreat at an alarming rate. While the retreating icecap may be a sign of man's impact on the environment, it also brings the promise of new opportunities. Arctic optimists foresee the emergence of new, shorter, and more secure trade routes in the High North. Additionally, scientists predict that the Arctic contains vast reserves of fossil fuels. The Arctic is estimated to contain significant deposits of undiscovered petroleum resources. This veritable fossil fuel 'bonanza' could help to ease some of the world's energy shortfalls and enrich the economies of those nations with the foresight and ability to capitalize on these resources. The vast, untapped potential of the Arctic is producing keen international competition. This international competition is a cause for major concern, especially considering the lack of preparedness of the United States military for operations in the Arctic. Not only are the United States. forces ill prepared, but the nation also lacks a cohesive command authority responsible for coordinating efforts in this region. The Arctic is vital to the interests of the United States and must be adequately safeguarded. The strategic interests of the United States in the Arctic region can be best protected by incorporating all national efforts under a Joint Interagency Task Force, increasing the level of integration with Canada and the other NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organization] allies, and consolidating the region under a single Geographic Combatant Command - U.S. Northern Command."
This article was published in Culture and Conflict Review (Earth Day 2011), v.5 no.2
RightsThis 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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