Murkowski, Sullivan Enshrine Former U.S. Senator Ted Stevens’ Arctic Legacy through Grand Opening of Arctic Security Studies Center

U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan (R-AK) took part in the grand opening of the Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies. The center, named after the late Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska, will support defense strategy objectives and policy priorities through a unique academic forum, while also developing robust international networks of security leaders.

“The Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies—I’m so proud to be able to say that. Ted always watched out for us here in Alaska. He dedicated his life to building our state and was also the first Senator to embrace the “Arctic-ness” of America. He set the foundation, which is why it is so fitting this center bears his name. To go from vision, to concept, to this moment so quickly is a testament to all of the people who worked so hard to make this a reality. From today forward, the Stevens Center will further focus our strategic thinking about the Arctic. It will help us turn ideas into concepts, concepts into action, and action into results. And, with partners across the Arctic, it will work together in a spirit of cooperation, just as Ted and Dan always did. This center will help us truly embrace our role and responsibility as an Arctic nation,” said Senator Murkowski. “I’m proud to have been a driving force in establishing and funding this initiative. It was an honor to be with true supporters of the Arctic at the grand opening for the Center – to let America, and the world, know: the Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies is open for business.”

“When I arrived in the Senate in 2015, I was stunned by the lack of seriousness and attention given to the Arctic region from our most senior defense leaders,” said Senator Sullivan. “The Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies, which I was able to pass in the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, demonstrates just how much progress we’ve made. The Ted Stevens Center further cements Alaska as the center of gravity for America's Arctic security operations, policy and research and will enable our country to confront an era of authoritarian aggression with confidence and sound Arctic policy crafted by the world’s best and brightest experts, including those who know the Arctic best—Alaskans. I want to thank Senator Murkowski for initially conceiving of the idea and working to appropriate funds for the center, and Congressman Don Young for carrying it across the finish line in the House.”

“This endeavor has been a Congressional and Executive Branch of government success. Specifically, this milestone is an achievement for the Alaska Congressional Delegation and the DoD team, and those of us standing up the center are honored to be a part of the team and are thrilled to see how far we have collectively come in this matter in a relatively short time. The Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies achieving Initial Operating Capacity as defined by the Pentagon approved Center Plans, Objectives and Milestones (POAM) on 1 July 2022 was a significant objective for the Center's initial advancement.  Tomorrow's opening ceremony is a public acknowledgement by the Stevens Center and our DoD leadership of the importance of the combined team effort which is building capacity in Arctic and Climate Security research & analysis, executive education and strategic engagement activities to provide a soft power complement to the hard power investments the United States is making in and across the Arctic...in support of our national interests across region in collaboration with our Allies and Partners. We at the Center are truly grateful for the support of the DoD and the support of the U.S. Congress, in particular, the Alaska Congressional Delegation,” said Randy “Church” Kee, Maj Gen, USAF (Ret), Senior Advisor, Arctic Security Affairs.

"Establishing the Ted Stevens Center is a clear and tangible example of the importance of the Arctic region to the fundamental security interests of our nation. Although the Center is located in Alaska, it will link the global community to the Arctic and play a central role in addressing the full spectrum of security issues unfolding before us. Senator Murkowski and Senator Sullivan have championed our new Center and by doing so, have ensured our nation and our state are well positioned to address future challenges throughout the region," said Dr. Michael Sfraga, Chair & Distinguished Fellow of the Polar Institute and Chair of the US Arctic Research Commission.

“Ted would be so honored to have his name associated with a vitally important Center as well as experienced leadership and staff.  He was passionate about Arctic research and action - ensuring our country is well-prepared for any threat.  Senator Murkowski and Senator Sullivan have done just that in working to secure authorization and funding for the Center.  We are grateful to the leadership of the Administration for their support of an Arctic commitment benefiting our country and the world. Ted often commented, ‘Alaska’s strategic location and capabilities prepare us to respond expeditiously to protect our nation.’  As he characterized it, ‘We live along one edge of an incredible vast region - home to half of the world’s population, an emerging superpower, and a malevolent nuclear regime,’” said Catherine Stevens, widow of the late Senator Stevens and member of the Stevens family. “We are also eager to follow how the Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies will partner with the Daniel K. Inouye Center for Asia Pacific Studies, and continue the legacy of getting things done, as Ted and Dan did through their strong friendship and referred to each other as ‘brothers’.”

“The Ted Stevens Center will create a lasting presence by the DoD in Alaska of a high level strategic center of excellence. The TSC as it develops can not only further education but can help align interests across the polar region. A mission which includes new polar technologies can uniquely add value to existing efforts in the military mission.  Alaska Natives and our vast network of relational and familiar ties across the Arctic, together with our growing capabilities working together with the Ted Stevens Center can help sustain deep collaboration and critical understanding as we continue building our partnerships,” Julie Kitka, President of the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN).

Background: The Ted Stevens Center, the first DoD regional center in the Arctic and the first new DoD regional center since 2000, will support defense strategy objectives and policy priorities through a unique academic forum, while also fostering strong international networks of security leaders. The DoD has five Regional Centers covering Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa, Near East-South Asia, and the Western Hemisphere—making this the sixth DoD Regional Center and the only one specifically focused on the Arctic.

Senators Murkowski and Sullivan sponsored this initiative in the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and the late Congressman Don Young (R-Alaska) successfully included the provision in the House’s version of the NDAA, which was eventually signed into law. 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.

Related Issues: Arctic