The US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel has unveiled the Department of Defense's (DoD) new Arctic strategy during the recently concluded Halifax International Security Forum in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
Designed to complement the 'National Strategy for the Arctic Region', released by the White House in May 2013, the strategy details Pentagon's commitment to collaborate with allies and partners within the established framework of the international law, to maintain peace and security in a new frontier where climatic changes are expected in the coming years.
Hagel said the rising temperatures are transforming the Arctic from a frozen desert to an evolving navigable ocean, leading to an unprecedented level of human activity in the region, simultaneously melting ice that will threaten coastal populations worldwide.
''By taking advantage of multilateral training opportunities with partners in the region, we will enhance our cold-weather operational experience, and strengthen our military-to-military ties with other Arctic nations,'' Hagel said.
''This includes Russia, with whom the US and Canada share common interests in the Arctic, creating the opportunity to pursue practical cooperation between our militaries and promote greater transparency.''
The strategy lists out the eight lines of effort to keep the Arctic peaceful, stable and free of conflict, which include readiness to detect and defeat threats to the US, and continue to exercise US sovereignty in and around Alaska, work with both private and public-sector partners to improve understanding and awareness of the Arctic environment for safe and effective operation, and preserve freedom of the seas across the region.
Other efforts include protection of the environmental integrity of the Arctic, readiness to respond to man-made and natural disasters in the region, evolve US Arctic infrastructure and capabilities is step with changing conditions and support the development of the Arctic Council and other international institutions.
With over 1,000 miles of Arctic coastline along its Alaskan border, the US currently has 22,000 active duty troops and 5,000 guardsmen and reservists stationed in Alaska, Military.com reports.
Image: US defence secretary Chuck Hagel during the Halifax International Security Forum in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, Photo: courtesy of Glenn Fawcett.