Legislation that would create a new Department of Defense Regional Center in the Arctic was introduced in the U.S. Senate this week.
The center, the Ted Stevens Arctic Center for Security Studies, would be named after the longtime Alaska Senator Ted Stevens. The Defense Department has five academic Regional Centers for Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa, Near East-South Asia, and the Northern Hemisphere. The centers support defense strategy objectives and policy priorities through a unique academic forum. The centers are designed to foster research and outreach and develop relationships among security practitioners throughout the region.
“Ted Stevens knew the importance of the Arctic and a strong national defense to Alaska and to our nation. With the growing prominence of the Arctic in global geopolitical and strategic affairs, now is the time to give the DoD the tools it needs to foster the research and dialogues that will be critical to our nation’s national security,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), one of the bill’s sponsors, said. “No leader invokes bipartisanship, strategic focus, and support for peaceful multilateralism in the Arctic better than Ted Stevens. It is my hope that through a center for security studies, Ted’s spirit will permeate another generation that will lead America – and the world – into the coming Arctic century.”
Murkowski is considered the leading expert in Congress on the Arctic. Murkowski and Sen. Angus King (I-ME) formed the Senate Arctic Caucus to advance issues important to the Arctic and to the people who live there. Further, Murkowski is the U.S. Representative to the Standing Committee of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region.
Her senate colleague from Alaska, Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK), also sponsored the bill.
“I am pleased to cosponsor this legislation authorizing the creation of a Department of Defense regional center in the Arctic,” Sullivan said. “Since statehood, Alaska’s congressional delegation has worked tirelessly to educate Congress and the Defense Department on Arctic issues. This Arctic center will ensure that our military can further study security challenges in the region and pioneer creative solutions to address these issues. It is only fitting that this center be named after the late Senator Ted Stevens, one of the fiercest advocates for Alaska’s crucial role in national security, and a man who devoted his life to advancing the interests of our state.”