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June 28, 2021

With Arctic Activity on the Rise, Senators King, Sullivan Launch Bipartisan Arctic Security Initiative Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the Office of U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) announced that Senator King, Co-Chair of the Senate Arctic Caucus, has joined Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) to introduce the Arctic Security Initiative Act of 2021, legislation requiring the Department of Defense (DOD) to conduct a security assessment of the Arctic region and establish an Arctic Security Initiative (ASI) with a five-year plan to fully resource the DOD and individual service-specific strategies for the Arctic that have been released over the past several years. U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) would lead the independent assessment in coordination with U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM) and U.S. European Command (USEUCOM). In addition, Representatives Mike Gallagher (R-Wisc.) and Elaine Luria (D-Va.) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

“The shifting strategic and environmental landscape in the Arctic marks an historic moment for U.S. leadership in the region – this means full awareness of the potential opportunities and threats in the far north,” said Senator Angus King (I-Maine), Co-Chair of the U.S. Senate Arctic Caucus.  “As the world awakens to the fact that we are entering a new era of Arctic competition and cooperation, it is imperative we develop our presence there to match the moment, and pursue responsible policies that strengthen U.S. capabilities and resources the region.”

The ASI would be focused on four areas:


1)      Readiness: Modernizing forces and enhancing dedicated presence in the Arctic, as well as Arctic operations in support of other theaters.

2)      Sustainment: Improving and hardening logistics, infrastructure, and pre-positioning war materials.

3)      Training and Doctrine: Establishing dedicated wargames and exercises in support of Arctic operations.

4)      Multilateralism: Enhancing Arctic cooperation with America’s allies and partners.


The FY 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) included a provision requiring the secretary of defense and the service secretaries to submit a plan on how they will implement the Department of Defense’s 2019 Arctic Strategy to defend the homeland, preserve freedom of the seas, and develop Arctic infrastructure and capabilities. Below is a timeline of the release of the service-specific Arctic strategies.


·       In March, the U.S. Army released its first-ever Arctic strategy.

·       In January, the Department of Homeland Security released its first-ever Arctic strategy

·       Also in January, the U.S. Navy released its Arctic strategy document, titled “A Blue Arctic.” The strategy states that naval forces must expand their role in the greater Arctic region through the pursuit of three main objectives: maintaining enhanced presence, strengthening cooperative relationships, and building a more capable Arctic naval force. 

·       In July of 2020, the U.S. Air Force released the first service-specific strategy document. The strategy lays out an expansion of the competitive space in the Arctic under four lines of effort: vigilance in all domains, projecting power through a combat-credible force, cooperation with allies & partners, and preparation for Arctic operations. Importantly, the strategy also emphasizes continued work and collaboration with Alaska Native communities.

·       In June of 2019, the Department of Defense released its Arctic strategy document

·       In April of 2019, the U.S. Coast Guard released its “Arctic Strategic Outlook.


As a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and Co-Chair of the U.S. Senate Arctic Caucus, Senator King is an advocate for Maine’s interests in the North Atlantic and Arctic region. Earlier this year, Senator King applauded the U.S. Navy’s recently-released Strategic Blueprint for the Arctic – the publication represents a forward-thinking approach to achieving U.S. priorities in the Arctic, and stresses Maine’s critical strategic importance in the region. In 2019, Senator King introduced the Arctic Naval Focus Act of 2019 with Senators Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), a bill that would direct the federal government to recognize the importance of the Arctic region to the United States’ national and economic security interests. He also invited Senator Sullivan on his monthly Inside Maine podcast to discuss U.S. military challenges and opportunities in the Arctic

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