Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Defense Department picks site for new Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Studies

The Department of Defense will develop the new Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies in Anchorage, Sen. Lisa Murkowski announced Wednesday.

The defense center will become the sixth regional center that the DoD operates and the first one to focus on the Arctic region. Regional centers bring together military and government leaders, academicians and others to partner on regional security issues. Other DoD regional centers focus on security strategies in Europe, Africa and Asia.

Although the Pentagon announced plans this summer for the Arctic security center, it held off on naming the location. The five regional defense centers in operation are located in Washington, D.C., Hawaii and Germany.

“I have been very outspoken to both the president and his administration that the Ted Stevens Arctic Center for Security Studies must be located in Alaska,” Murkowski said Wednesday, when she disclosed the Anchorage site of the future center.

“We are the state that makes America an Arctic nation and our geo-strategic location creates unparalleled possibilities available nowhere else,” Murkowski said. “Alaska is indeed the geo-strategic crossroads of the world, and the logical place for an Arctic studies center.”

“I appreciate that the Department of Defense took our advice and made the right choice to locate the center in Alaska,” said Murkowski, who along with Sen. Dan Sullivan, co-sponsored legislation for its creation, under the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act. Murkowski also secured $10 million for the center in the fiscal 2021 appropriations package.

The future Arctic security center will draw “America’s global partners and allies along with a variety of federal and state authorities and academic institutions, also bringing economic benefit to the area,” Murkowski said.

“As this project comes to fruition, we will all see the tremendous value it will provide as America pursues and defends our interests in the Arctic,” Murkowski said.

Rep. Don Young also lauded the decision to develop the center in Anchorage, as well as the Defense Department’s increased focus on defense strategy in the Arctic region.

“Through the Stevens Center, we can make sure Alaska is front-and-center as we work to strengthen national security in the Arctic. The benefits of the Stevens Center extend beyond national security, but also for international diplomacy,” said Young, who included a provision for the center’s creation in the National Defense Authorization Act that the House passed in fiscal 2021.

“The Alaska delegation has been united in making the Stevens Center a reality, and I look forward to continuing my work with the DoD until its doors officially open,” Young said.

Senior adviser named for Alaska-based center

In September, the Defense Department announced that Randy “Church” Kee, a retired Air Force major general, would serve as senior adviser for Arctic Security Affairs in establishing the new regional center. “His Arctic experience is vast. His military service is distinguished. On top of all that, he is an Alaskan,” Murkowski said in a prepared statement.

The center is named after the late Ted Stevens, who served as Alaska senator from 1968 to 2009. He died in a plane crash on Aug. 9, 2010.

According to the DoD: “In the same spirit of the George C. Marshall, William J. Perry, and Daniel K. Inouye Regional Centers of Security Studies, the Stevens Center honors the legacy of a highly distinguished statesman, Senator Ted Stevens (Alaska).”

By:  Linda F. Hersey
Source: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner