The Navy has released a document that they are calling a strategic blueprint for the Arctic titled “Blue Arctic,” which outlines how the Navy will approach the Arctic Region in the coming decades.
“The forward-looking document provides strategic guidance on how the Department will apply naval power in the Arctic Region and stresses an approach that integrates American naval power with joint forces, interagency teammates, allies, and partners,” the Navy said in a statement. “It also challenges the Navy-Marine Corps-Coast Guard team to evolve and expand the range of integrated capabilities to achieve enduring national interests in the region.”
Specifically, the document will lay out how the Navy will provide the “right levels and types of presence” in the Arctic, Navy Secretary Kenneth Braithwaite said in the statement.
“This includes strengthening cooperative partnerships to ensure coordination with key allies and partners in the region,” he said.
The Arctic has grown in strategic importance, and it could one day connect nearly 75% of the world’s population. It also holds 30% of the world’s undiscovered natural gas reserves and 13% of global conventional oils reserves. Additionally, there is an estimated $1 trillion worth of rare earth minerals in this region.
The document notes that the Arctic is shifting from “white” to “blue,” meaning that ice coverage will continue to reduce and therefore the region will be more accessible to ships, opening up new routes and markets.
The region is already is already experiencing increased activity from other nations.
“Russia is investing heavily to enhance its Arctic defense and economic sectors, with a resultant multilayered militarization of its northern flank,” the document states. “By modernizing its military capabilities and posture – particularly the Northern Fleet – Russia aims to improve command and control, infrastructure, and joint force employment to project power and defend its northern approaches.”