OSI's evolving Arctic frontier

  • Published
  • By Wayne Amann
  • OSI Public Affairs

Located along the U.S. homeland and two major geographical theaters -- the Indo-Pacific and Europe -- the Arctic is a critical region for U.S. national security interests and vital to U.S. homeland defense.

Recent advancements in global strategic competition within the Arctic, coupled with significant environmental changes, including the melting of Arctic ice, has opened maritime access to the region's economic and natural resources and furthered adversarial military ambitions.

Consequently, the United States has increased its focus on Arctic defense initiatives.

One such effort is the Arctic Regional Security Orientation Course (ARSOC) education program. Conducted at the Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies in Anchorage, Alaska, ARSOC is designed to support the 2021 U.S. Interim National Security Strategy and the Department of the Air Force's 2020 Arctic Strategy.

ARSOC builds networks of defense and security leaders who better understand DoD security priorities in the Arctic region, notably as the Department invests in capabilities to deter an increasing risk of hostile activities by Russia and China.

OSI Region 6 leadership teammates, Col. Ben Hatch and Chief Master Sgt. David Flanagan, completed the 30-hour, week-long ARSOC curriculum May 27, 2022, to further connect OSI's force protection efforts with the growing number of Air Force and Space Force operations, activities, and investments in the Arctic. 

"The Department of the Air Force is responsible for roughly 80 percent of the overall DoD resources in the region," said Col. Hatch, Commander and Special Agent in Charge of Region 6, OSI's Pacific Command. "OSI can be found where the Department of the Air Force has equities, and the ARSOC program provides incredible awareness and perspective on the many opportunities and challenges in the region that require a unified effort to address."

Chief Flanagan, OSI's Pacific Region Senior Enlisted Leader echoed those sentiments.

"With a strong foundation of two highly professional and extremely capable OSI units in Alaska, we're postured to work closely with mission partners and allies both in the Pacific and in Europe to ensure we do our part to help protect our Nation and its interests in the Arctic,” he said.

According to its Fact Sheet: the Ted Stevens Center, established June 9, 2021, is the newest of six regional centers for security studies, which have a mission of, “promoting the intellectual interoperability underpinning full-spectrum security cooperation, and building our Nation’s and our partners’ capacity to collaborate against shared threats. Prioritized areas of focus include territorial security, transnational and asymmetric threats, and defense sector governance.”

The Center is named to honor the legacy of statesman, U.S. Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska. He began his public service as a WWII airlift pilot in the China-Burma-India theater, continuing in his dedicated efforts in supporting Alaska Statehood and including his career in the U.S. Senate.

His numerous legislative achievements advanced U.S. interests, while leveraging the unique role Alaska provides in supporting national security in the Arctic, North American and Pacific regions.

Upon establishing the Ted Stevens Center, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said in part, “The Center will work with like-minded partners and across the interagency to pool our collective strength and advance shared interests. It will address the need for U.S. engagement and international cooperation to strengthen the rules-based order in the region.”