Alaska Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan introduced a bill Monday that would create an Arctic defense studies center in Alaska to be named after late Alaska Republican Sen. Ted Stevens. 

The Ted Stevens Arctic Center for Security Studies would serve as an academic military center to assist in the study of national defense specifically through the lens of Arctic regional military strategy similar to the country’s other defense studies centers in Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa, Near East-South Asia and the Northern Hemisphere. The Arctic center would be the first and only defense studies center in the region, according to Murkowski’s office.

Murkowski noted in a statement Monday that the naming of the center after Stevens was significant to the topic of study.

“Ted Stevens knew the importance of the Arctic and a strong national defense to Alaska and to our nation,” she said. “With the growing prominence of the Arctic in global geopolitical and strategic affairs, now is the time to give the DoD the tools it needs to foster the research and dialogues that will be critical to our nation’s national security,” she said. “No leader invokes bipartisanship, strategic focus and support for peaceful multilateralism in the Arctic better than Ted Stevens.

“It is my hope that through a center for security studies, Ted’s spirit will permeate another generation that will lead America — and the world — into the coming Arctic century,” she said.

Sullivan offered similar sentiments.

“I am pleased to cosponsor this legislation authorizing the creation of a Department of Defense regional center in the Arctic,” he said. “Since statehood, Alaska’s congressional delegation has worked tirelessly to educate Congress and the Defense Department on Arctic issues. This Arctic center will ensure that our military can further study security challenges in the region and pioneer creative solutions to address these issues. It is only fitting that this center be named after the late Sen. Ted Stevens, one of the fiercest advocates for Alaska’s crucial role in national security, and a man who devoted his life to advancing the interests of our state.”

As with the other five regional centers, if the bill is enacted, the Stevens Center would be funded through the Department of Defense budget. There is not yet an estimate for how much the center would cost. 

Contact staff writer Erin McGroarty at 459-7544. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMpolitics.