Strategic Approach for Arctic Homeland Security (p. 4 - 14)

US federal departments and branches of the military have been releasing new or updated Arctic strategies since 2019. Today we will be examining the first half of the Department of Homeland Security's Arctic strategy, published earlier this year.

Find the full text here:

The Department is at a critical inflection point in its nascent history. Forged from the Nation-altering terrorist attacks of 9/11, DHS has grown and evolved during the past two decades to address all threats and hazards to the Homeland. While preventing the threat of terrorism by non-state actors like Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) continues to be a cornerstone of our homeland security strategy, DHS must also contend with Great Power Competition posed by nation-states such as the Peoples’ Republic of China (PRC) and Russian Federation (RF), whose malign behavior is at its most acute point since the Department’s creation. These actors increasingly deploy non-kinetic instruments of power and influence, including cyber-attacks, disinformation campaigns, and exploitation of our immigration and trade systems, to undermine the Homeland and our vital national security interests.

DHS stands ready to confront this evolving challenge. As an Arctic Nation, the United States must protect its citizens, sovereignty, and economic security interests throughout the region while bolstering the sovereignty and security interests of our like-minded allies and partners. As is evidenced by the June 9, 2020 Presidential Memorandum regarding Safeguarding U.S. National Security Interests in the Arctic and Antarctic Regions, DHS stands poised and well-positioned to play an expanding role in the Arctic Region. The Department will develop a coordinated approach that leverages the broad authorities and regional expertise of the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) while incorporating other unique DHS authorities and capabilities within U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and U.S. Immigration and CustomsEnforcement (ICE), as well as other DHS Components.

In addition to Great Power Competition, DHS must also grapple with natural hazards increasing in both scope and scale. Upticks in natural events, including tsunamis, land fires, earthquakes, and other activities will increasingly necessitate expanded DHS presence. These challenges encompass a few of the many strategic and operational challenges that DHS must be adequately resourced and positioned to tackle.

This strategic approach outlines DHS’s unique role in the region and three goals the Department will endeavor to achieve in it:

  1. Secure the Homeland through Persistent Presence and All Domain Awareness;

  2. Strengthen Access, Response, and Resilience in the Arctic; and,

  3. Advance Arctic Governance and a Rules-Based Order through Targeted National and International Engagement and Cooperation.

The Arctic’s expanded relevance, coupled with the Department’s significant regional investments,1 requires DHS to have a unified, deliberate, and forward-looking approach. The Strategic Approach for Arctic Homeland Security fully leverages the broad range of DHS authorities, capabilities, capacity and partnerships to achieve the goals laid out in this document.

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