Key Issues in Arctic Security

Maj Gen Randy ‘Church’ Kee

This paper explores the increased demands of urgent and emergency responses on US Coast Guard and other maritime operator missions including search and rescue, humanitarian assistance, and disaster response in the context of significant environmental changes and increased human activity in the Arctic region. Throughout this paper, Kee approaches security from a safety, law enforcement and defence perspective in order to characterise the major factors affecting the Arctic security landscape. Beginning with an overview of the issues facing the region, Kee lays out the complex array of features and factors that are greatly contributing to safety and security challenges in the Arctic. Kee contends that Arctic states are constrained by less than ideal security capabilities, and thus Arctic national borders and economic boundaries are being readily exploited and violated. Within this context, and with an increasingly dynamic physical environment, a desire to preserve the cultural heritage of the region, and a demand to understand economic pressures kept front of mind, Kee provides an extensive discussion on potential mechanisms for securing, protecting and defending the region to reduce the chance of conflict. Throughout this comprehensive chapter, Kee delivers a detailed analysis of the many relevant security issues, possible concerns for the future, and offers measured approaches for dealing with them that are both immediate and anticipatory in nature. As Kee maintains, ‘increasing the capabilities of cooperation and collaboration mechanisms, and creating new mechanisms to address current gaps and seams, could prove pivotal to fostering improved outcomes for the Arctic in the coming years’.


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