Melting Arctic sea ice is creating new routes that adversaries like Russia and China may utilize for “potentially nefarious intentions,” warned the chair of the military committee for NATO.
At the 10th Arctic Circle Assembly held in Iceland, Adm. Rob Bauer, who also serves as military adviser to the secretary general of NATO, presented the new Regional Plan North, which tasks the Allied Joint Force Command in Norfolk to oversee activities within the Atlantic and European Arctic.
“JFC Norfolk sees to it that NATO’s force posture supports Arctic operations and provides greater Arctic defense coherence,” he said. “This ensures that forces and equipment can flow between the continents in conflict and peace and protects our freedom of navigation.”
The NATO regional plans provide information on how its troops will defend territories under the alliance from enemy forces. The documents include capabilities and levels of readiness required from assigned troops.
While in Reykjavík, the admiral also sat down with Icelandic Minister of Foreign Affairs Bjarni Benediktsson to discuss the important role the nation, a NATO and Arctic Circle member, plays in the region’s security. During the meeting, Bauer also emphasized the importance of keeping the Arctic region free and navigable.