The Hoover Institution’s Arctic Security Initiative

Monday, May 6, 2013
USS Honolulu submarine and polar bears on the sea ice of the Arctic Ocean, near
Image credit: 
United States Navy
USS Honolulu submarine and polar bears on the sea ice of the Arctic Ocean, near
Image credit: 
United States Navy

In an ongoing effort to solve the problems of a changing Arctic, the Hoover Institution brought together military, diplomatic, and scientific experts to engage in a series of discussions to address the strategic and security implications of increased activity in the Arctic. This series of discussions and workshops with scholars and experts identified ways in which to shape a safe, secure, and prosperous Arctic.

On Tuesday, April 30, 2013, the Hoover Institution hosted the second in a series of discussions and work groups,  “The Challenges and Opportunities of Arctic Security,” in the Hoover-Brookings Arctic Project. Tuesday’s speakers included George Shultz, the Thomas W. and Susan B. Ford Distinguished Fellow; Gary Roughead, Hoover’s Annenberg Distinguished Visiting Fellow and former chief of naval operations; Alaska lieutenant governor Mead Treadwell; James Houck, Distinguished Scholar In Residence at Penn State University; Mark Rosen, vice president and deputy general counsel at the Center for Naval Analysis; Maersk Line, senior vice president  at Limited Steve Carmel; Lawson Brigham, Distinguished Professor of Geography & Arctic Policy at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks; and Tom McDermott, director of research at  Georgia Tech Research Institute; Vice Admiral Paul F. Zukunft, US Coast Guard commander of the Pacific area and defense force west, also attended.

With its changing global climate and its diminishing ice cap, experts are certain that the Arctic will become more accessible in coming years. With new maritime routes, shipping times and costs will be reduced, thus enhancing links between major commercial centers. Competition for fisheries will increase, as will access to vast natural resources. Those factors, combined with economic and geopolitical developments, make the changing Arctic the most significant physical global event since the end of the last Ice Age.

As an unresolved strategic territory the Arctic’s increased activity suggests the region is likely to become the subject of intense negotiations and confrontations over resources, ocean access, and sovereignty. In light of such evolving changes and challenges, the Hoover-Brookings Arctic Project will address the key considerations facing US national security policy and decision makers as those issues relate to the economy, energy policy, and the environment.

The Hoover-Brookings team recognizes that many projects and studies have examined some security, resource, population, and environmental aspects of a changing Arctic. Its aim, however, is to differentiate, highlight, and provide coherent and thoughtful policy recommendations to address the effects and consequences of the changing environment.

As leading public policy research organizations committed to independent, high-quality, and high-impact analysis, the Hoover and Brookings Institutions are committed to the Arctic as an issue of national and international importance.