Military control of the Arctic

March 27, 2022
The United States is strengthening its military in the Arctic.

We are stuck with a pretty tense situation there. Either we acquiesce to Russia, to their extreme control of surface waters, or we elevate or escalate the issue.

Director of the Center of Arctic Security and Resilience at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Troy Bouffard, on U.S. efforts to increase military presence in the Arctic.
  • Arctic Ocean = the ocean encircled by Alaska (U.S.), Canada, Greenland (Denmark), Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland and Russia.
  • Moves to militarize and control the area have been ongoing for years as new shipping routes and energy reserves emerge due to melting ice. The recent invasion of Ukraine has resulted in increased U.S. military efforts in the Arctic.
  • Something To Consider: Alaska plays an important part in the U.S. missile defense system and has a solid military presence, with over 20,000 active duty personnel located at bases across the state. Russia's eastern mainland is 55 miles from the westernmost coast of Alaska.

Why It Matters: The U.S. has increased its efforts in recent years to assert control of the Arctic Circle, such as expanding ports and funding new icebreakers (specialized ships which break ice in order to clear a path forward in icy waters). Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, both countries have halted collaboration on expanding diplomatic channels — and the U.S. has taken a stronger stance in pursuing Arctic control.

With Eyes on Russia, the U.S. Military Prepares for an Arctic Future (NYT)

by Jenna Lee,