When combined with economic and political developments, the changing Arctic is the most significant physical global event since the end of the last Ice Age. An unresolved strategic territory, the increased activity suggests that the region could become the subject of intensive negotiations and possible friction and confrontation relating to resources, ocean access, and sovereignty. In light of those changes and challenges, the Hoover Institution Arctic Security Initiative has been put in place to address the strategic and security implications of increased activity and to identify opportunities for shaping a safe, secure, and prosperous Arctic.
The most significant physical event on our planet since the end of the Ice Age is taking place today: the opening of the Arctic. Activity in the high north will increase. Fish stocks will migrate, and pursuing fishing fleets will thus move farther north. Access to natural resources will expand. New maritime shipping routes can reduce shipping times and costs and accelerate ties among commercial centers. Indigenous populations will be affected profoundly and rapidly.