The Pentagon issued its first Arctic strategy, laying out how the US military will work to promote security, stewardship, and international cooperation in the region. “This strategy identifies the department’s desired end-state for the Arctic: a secure and stable region where US national interests are safeguarded, the US homeland is protected, and nations work cooperatively to address challenges,” reads the executive summary of the document, which DOD released on Nov. 22. The strategy, based on the Obama Administration’s broader 2013 National Strategy for the Arctic Region, notes that “the Arctic is at a strategic inflection point as its ice cap is diminishing more rapidly than projected and human activity, driven by economic opportunity . . . is increasing in response to the growing accessibility.” These developments “present a compelling opportunity” for DOD to work with allies and partners to promote human and environmental security there, states the summary. “It is the responsibility of every Arctic nation—and all nations who have interests there—to work together to build a peaceful and secure region,” said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in a Nov. 22 speech in Halifax, Canada, introducing the strategy. (Arctic Strategy; caution, large-sized file.) (Hagel transcript)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.