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Recommendation that USNORTHCOM Assumes Responsibility for the Arctic(Davis)

Recommendation that USNORTHCOM Assumes Responsibility for the Arctic(Davis)

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Published by Ian Davis
Recommendation that USNORTHCOM assumes role as the supported Combatant Commander (COCOM) for U.S. Military operations in the Arctic.
Recommendation that USNORTHCOM assumes role as the supported Combatant Commander (COCOM) for U.S. Military operations in the Arctic.

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Published by: Ian Davis on Dec 19, 2010
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  NAVAL WAR COLLEGEMonterey Program NATIONAL SECURITY DECISION MAKING FINAL EXAMINATIONByIan S. DavisMajor, USAFall 2010 ± Section 3A paper submitted to the Faculty of the Naval War College in partial satisfaction of therequirements of the Department of National Security Decision Making.The contents of this paper reflect my own personal views and are not necessarilyendorsed by the Naval War College or the Department of the Navy.Signature: /s/ I. S. Davis. Ian S. DavisDate: 10DEC 2010Signature: /s/ J. S. Breemer Dr. J. S. Breemer Professor, NSD
 
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The affects of global climate change have created both opportunity and vulnerability for the nations that have economic and security interests in the Arctic. According to the 2010 U.S. National Security Strategy:The United States is an Arctic Nation with broad and fundamental interests in the Arcticregion, where we seek to meet our national security needs, protect the environment,responsibly manage resources, account for indigenous communities, support scientificresearch, and strengthen international cooperation on a wide range of issues.(Obama2010, 50)To address U.S. national interests in the Arctic as outlined in the 2010 National Security Strategy(NSS 2010), the Joint Staff conducted an analysis of its current structure and generated fivecourse of action pertaining to controlling U.S. Department of Defense activities in the Arctic: 1)maintain the current policy of shared responsibility of the Arctic between U.S. EuropeanCommand (USEUCOM), U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM), and U.S. PacificCommand (USPACOM); 2) designate USNORTHCOM as the supported command; 3) designateUSEUCOM as the supported command; 4) designate USPACOM as the supported command;and 5) establish an new combatant command²U.S. Arctic Command (USARCTCOM). Basedon its current mission statement, capacity for joint and whole of government (WOG) integration,and existing international cooperative security partnership with Canada, the Joint Staff recommends that USNORTHCOM be designated as the supported command for the Arctic. TheUSNORTHCOM option maximizes unity of effort between the U.S Government and partner nations, while minimizing the requirement for additional resources (i.e. anew combatantcommand) in order to protect U.S. national interests in the Arctic.
 
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Best Fit with Current MissionThe current mission of USNOTHCOM, along with its established collaborative securityinfrastructure with Canada, makes it best suited to immediately assume responsibility of theArctic with minimum additional resources. According the U.S. Department of Defense UnifiedCommand Plan 2008, USNORTHCOM, USEUCOM, and USPACOM currently shareresponsibility for operations in the Arctic.(Department of Defense 2008)Climatic change hasincreased freedom of navigation in the Arctic, thus increasing the level of private, commercial,and military traffic throughout the region. Undoubtedly, greater access to the Arctic is sure tocause a sudden rush of U.S. private and government entities into the area, thus, creating anincreasingly complex security environment in terms of protecting U.S. interests in the remoteregion.USNORTHCOM¶s mission is to conduct homeland defense, civil support, and securitycooperation to defend and secure the U. S. and its interests. Its area of responsibility includesair, land, and sea approaches to the continental United States, Alaska, Canada, Mexico, and thesurrounding water out to approximately 500 nautical miles. The commander of USNORTHCOM, Admiral James A. Winnefeld, Jr.,also commands the North AmericanAerospace Defense Command (NORAD), a bi-national command responsible for aerospacewarning, aerospace control, and maritime warning for Canada, Alaska, and the continentalUnited States.(Department of Defense 2010)USNORTHCOM¶s operational focus on protecting the U.S. Homeland makes it uniquely postured to assume a geographically larger area of responsibility in the Arctic without distractingfrom its current mission. In cooperation with the Department of Homeland Defense,USNORTHCOM leverage the ice-breaking and well as search and rescue assets of the United

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