DoD Announces the Establishment of Arctic Regional Center

Announces Progress Toward Creating Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) today welcomed the Department of Defense’s (DoD) announcement that it is establishing the Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies, an effort that she pushed legislatively and worked to fund. Named in honor of the late U.S. Senator Ted Stevens, this is the sixth DoD Regional Center and the only one focused on the Arctic.

Senators Murkowski and Sullivan sponsored this initiative in the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act. Through her role as an appropriator, Senator Murkowski secured $10 million for the Stevens Center in the Fiscal Year 2021 appropriations package. The Center’s aim is to support defense strategy objectives and policy priorities through a unique academic forum and to foster strong international networks of security leaders to support multilateralism and diplomacy in the region. The Stevens Center will serve as a soft power tool to support and strengthen the advances DoD is making in the Arctic, using security cooperation, research and academia, and diplomacy. 

“I’m encouraged to see Senator Sullivan and my efforts come one step closer to fruition. During my conversation with Secretary Austin, we discussed a number of Arctic related defense issues which included the Stevens Center. I was pleased to hear directly from him that he is moving forward with its establishment. Given the growing importance of the Arctic in global geopolitical and strategic affairs, the Stevens Center will provide DoD a place to foster the research and dialogue critical to national security especially as it pertains to the Arctic region. I continue to stress that the Stevens Center must be based in Alaska – near the Arctic and at the geostrategic crossroads of the world – and look forward to working with DoD to continue moving in that direction,” said Senator Murkowski. “Ted Stevens knew the importance of the Arctic and how Alaska can be leveraged to ensure a strong national defense. During a trip to the Oval Office a couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to convey this to President Biden – a close colleague of Senator Stevens – and I was pleased that he too sees tremendous value in the center and having it in Alaska. That the President and many others realize the importance of the Arctic is a testament to Senator Stevens’ foresight. I’m so proud that this Center will be named in his honor. I trust Secretary Austin will recognize that legacy and the significance of having this center in Alaska.”

“The center will support the U.S. Interim National Security Strategic Guidance direction to work with like-minded partners and across the interagency to pool our collective strength and advance shared interests. It will address the need for U.S. engagement and international cooperation to strengthen the rules-based order in the region and tackle shared challenges such as climate change,” said Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III today in a Defense Department release.

The DoD has five Regional Centers covering Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa, Near East-South Asia, and the Western Hemisphere.

Background: Senator Murkowski is considered the leading expert among her Congressional colleagues on Arctic issues and has worked continuously to raise awareness of the Arctic. At the beginning of the 114th Congress, Senator Murkowski and Senator Angus King (I-ME) formed the Senate Arctic Caucus, to advance issues important to the Arctic and to the people who live there. Murkowski is the Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region. Murkowski has also led the charge to recapitalize and expand America’s fleet of Polar Security Cutters (AKA icebreakers).