A Blue Arctic is the latest strategic blueprint issued by the US Department of the Navy. It examines regional analysis and planning that will drive strategy for the next two decades. Climate change has led to greater maritime accessibilities and navigation in the Arctic region.
The blueprint, released on 5 January this year, calls for “the Navy-Marine Corps-Coast Guard team to evolve and expand the range of integrated capabilities to achieve enduring national interests in the region.”
Secretary of the Navy Kenneth J. Braithwaite commented: “This blueprint guides how the Department will continue to provide the right levels and types of presence on, under, and above Arctic water, ensuring America is prepared to compete effectively and efficiently to maintain favourable balances of power. This includes strengthening cooperative partnerships to ensure coordination with key allies and partners in the region.”
The effect of climate change means that not only is greater navigation possible within the region, but also economic resources are gradually becoming more accessible. According to the report, the region holds “an estimated 30 percent of the world’s undiscovered natural gas reserves, 13 percent of the global conventional oil reserves and one trillion dollars’ worth of rare earth minerals.
It is expected that both Russia and China will increase their naval activity in the region to expand their economic zones and project power. “Russia is investing heavily to enhance its Arctic defense and economic sectors, with a resultant multilayered militarisation of its northern flank,” reveals the document.
The blueprint is guided by the objectives articulated in the National Security Strategy, National Defense Strategy, Department of Defense Arctic Strategy, and Advantage at Sea.