US Announces New Center for Arctic Security Studies

At a recent press briefing the US Department of Defense (DoD) Press Secretary John F. Kirby announced plans to launch a sixth DoD Regional Center focused on the Arctic. The mission of the Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies will be to provide an academic venue through which the US and its international partners will be able to conduct “multilateral research, communication and training” related to Arctic Security.

According to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin:

“The center will support the U.S. Interim National Security Strategic Guidance direction to work with like-minded partners and across the interagency to pool our collective strength and advance shared interests. It will address the need for U.S. engagement and international cooperation to strengthen the rules-based order in the region and tackle shared challenges such as climate change.”

Five other similar centers are currently active across the US and in Germany:

  • the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies (Garmisch, Germany)
  • the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (Honolulu, Hawaii)
  • the William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies (Washington DC)
  • the Africa Center for Strategic Studies
    (Washington DC)
  • and the Near East-South Asia Center for Strategic Studies
    (Washington DC)

A RAND study previously found that the five established centers have a strong track record in terms of programs offered and their efficiency; the programs are highly praised by international partners involved in them and effectively support partner capacity by helping to build up partner institutions and the skills of partner leaders. RAND furthermore concluded that the centers provide unique benefits such as offering an avenue for sustained security engagement with Latin American states, an avenue for allowing deep understanding of international partner viewpoints and fostering security engagement when more overt cooperation is impossible.

The announcement of the new center comes among an increased American focus on the Arctic region in response to its growing importance and intensifying Russian activity in the region. This year, the Army and Navy both published comprehensive plans for Arctic operations.