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DOD Working on New Arctic Strategy Amid Increasing Competition

DOD Working on New Arctic Strategy Amid Increasing Competition

The United States is updating its strategy for the Arctic in response to Russia and China’s efforts to increase their influence in the region.

Esther McClure, director of Arctic and oceans policy at the Department of Defense, said Monday that the agency expects to release a new strategy version in the coming months.

She noted that the document will highlight the importance of alliances in achieving the goal of maintaining the Arctic as a secure and stable region where the U.S. national security interests are protected.

Speaking at a panel discussion on security in the High North hosted by the Atlantic Council, McClure said NATO allied countries are stronger and more unified at present, comparing her experience collaborating with the alliance in previous decades.  

She noted, however, that alliances must be managed properly to enhance coordination, taking into consideration the different national perspectives of each ally.

The strategy will also promote investments in frameworks for communication to “reduce the risk of miscalculation,” McClure said.

DOD sees the Arctic as a region vital to homeland security, citing how Soviet bombers and missiles used the Arctic as an avenue of approach during the Cold War in case of an attack on the United States.

According to the agency, the increasing competition in the Arctic is a result of a warmer climate. As ice melts in the region, countries are provided an opportunity to access rich energy and mineral deposits.

DOD said China, which does not have an Arctic coastline, is calling itself a near-Arctic nation to increase its influence in the region.

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