Sullivan, Murkowski & King Introduce Arctic Naval Focus Act of 2019

U.S. Senators Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Angus King (I-Maine) have introduced S. 3080, the Arctic Naval Focus Act of 2019, legislation directing the federal government to recognize the importance of the Arctic region to our country’s national and economic security interests, and to put forward a strategy for the U.S. fleet’s ability to operate in the Arctic and respond to challenges.

“As new sea lanes emerge and maritime traffic rapidly increases in the Arctic, the capabilities of the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard have not kept pace with the elevated activity taking place in the region,” said Senator Sullivan. “Worse still, the military interest and investments being committed here by our adversaries, Russia and China, have been met for many years with tepid statements and inaction by the Pentagon. Our new legislation will change this dynamic, directing the Defense Department to make serious assessments of our interests and capabilities in the Arctic, and to put forward detailed plans to preserve the safe flow of commerce, protect the pristine natural environment, and secure America’s sovereignty. I thank Senators Murkowski and King for joining me in a long overdue effort for the federal government to initiate a sensible and thorough plan for operating in the Arctic.”

“The Arctic is an emerging frontier for international commerce and military capabilities required to protect national interests, which creates new opportunities for the United States – and for potential adversaries,” said Senator King. “As the impacts of climate change continue to affect this vital region, the U.S. must be forward-thinking to establish and protect our leadership role in the Arctic, and Maine’s people and resources are a key component of this effort. As the old Latin phrase goes: ‘If you want peace, prepare for war.’ The Arctic is seen as a zone of international cooperation and we should aim to maintain this; to do so, we need a strategy on how to assert ourselves in a corner of globe that grows more important by the day, and this legislation is a much-needed step toward that goal.”

 “I am encouraged that the focus on the Arctic continues to grow in the Senate and I am proud to cosponsor this legislation,” said Senator Murkowski. “Senator Sullivan and King have identified an important aspect of Arctic policy by focusing attention on our national security interests and the need for a strategic plan for the region. As major powers continue to advance their interests in the Arctic, the U.S. needs to maintain a commensurate focus through both strategic plans like the one called for in the Strategic Arctic Naval Focus Act and the devotion of resources like we secure in the Appropriations Committee.”

 The Arctic Naval Focus Act of 2019 will:

  • Codify a series of findings on the strategic importance of the Arctic.
  • Declare that it is the policy of the U.S. to develop and deploy Naval capabilities to meet the unique and growing challenges in the Arctic.
  • Require the Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security to develop a detailed plan within one year for taking concrete steps to create an operational and strategic support system for Arctic Naval surface operations with set deadlines for implementation.