The Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies, the Department of Defense’s sixth and newest regional center, will be located in Anchorage, Colorado Springs or Washington, D.C., according to testimony last week by military leaders at the Joint Armed Services Committee in Juneau.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, meanwhile, said Saturday in response to a query from the News-Miner that she has "made very clear to the president and the Department of Defense that the Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies should be located in Alaska – the state that makes America an Arctic nation."
Senior members of the military with oversight in Alaska testified on Tuesday, Oct. 5, before state lawmakers in an annual presentation on U.S. military activities, readiness and goals in Alaska.
Chief Master Sergeant Kristopher K. Berg, of the 11th Air Force, spoke to lawmakers about plans for the future defense center, after being introduced by Maj. Gen. David Krumm, commander of the 11th Air Force.
Berg said that “… in September we were able to get Maj. Gen. Church Kee established as the senior Arctic adviser” for the future regional center.
Kee will be responsible for support in developing the center and for early operations there. He is “helping to get the ball rolling in establishing everything … We’re hoping for an announcement in October on what that official location is — Anchorage, Colorado Springs or D.C.,” Berg told the committee.
A top goal of the military, Berg said, is “professionalizing the Arctic.”
Sen. Murkowski: Opportunities to increase Arctic diplomacy
Murkowski said Saturday that Alaska's "geo-strategic location provides America a front row seat to all the happenings in the Arctic and greater opportunities to increase Arctic diplomacy."
She added: "I worked hard to secure authorization and funding to bring this project to fruition and remain committed to providing America every opportunity possible to continue to advance our Arctic presence.
"My expectation is that the administration will support those efforts by coming to the reasonable conclusion that Alaska is the only location that should be home to the Ted Stevens Center, and I anticipate this decision to come very soon,” Murkowski said.
Maj. Gen. Krumm: Arctic is an 'avenue of approach'
Krumm had underscored the Arctic region’s strategic importance during testimony before the Joint Armed Services Committee of the Legislature.
The “Arctic used to be seen as a barrier,” Krumm said. “Now we know with technology and with more human and nation-state activity, the Arctic is not a barrier but potentially an avenue of approach.”
In the northern hemisphere, “the closest way” for adversaries “to get back at the U.S. is through the Arctic, and we’re working on getting ready for that,” Krumm said.
Creating the nation’s first Arctic regional center was an initiative sponsored by Murkowski and Dan Sullivan in the fiscal 2021 National Defense Authorization Act.
Although the Pentagon announced plans to create the center, disclosed its name, and tapped Kee as senior adviser, potential sites for the institution had not been discussed publicly until now.
The goal of the new Ted Stevens Center is “to build strong, sustainable, international networks of security leaders to advance U.S. national security priorities in the Arctic region,” according to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency.
The center’s mission will be “to engage in regional and global security issues through research, communication, and education,” according to the agency.
Other Defense Department regional centers are the:
- George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Germany;
- Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Hawaii;
- William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies in Washington, D.C.
- Africa Center for Strategic Studies in Washington, D.C.
- Near East-South Asia Center for Strategic Studies in Washington, D.C.
Editor's note: This article was updated Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021, at 6:45 p.m., Alaska time, with comments from Sen. Lisa Murkowski.