The National Defense Authorization Act of 2021 provided the Secretary of Defense (SecDef) the authority to assess, plan, and establish a new Department of Defense (DOD) Regional Center, specifically oriented to the Arctic. Following a period of analysis on the merits of creating such a center, the Secretary announced the establishment of the Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies (Stevens Center or TSC) on 9 June 2021. As part of that announcement, SecDef Llyod Austin elaborated these key details: “The center will support the U.S. Interim National Security Strategic Guidance direction to work with like-minded partners and across the interagency to pool our collective strength and advance shared interests,” Austin said. “It will address the need for U.S. engagement and international cooperation to strengthen the rules-based order in the region and tackle shared challenges such as climate change.”1
Volume 04 Issue 7 - Special Issue 2021
This article contends that US policy makers should understand the growing problem of suspicious Chinese and Russian actions in the polar regions. The dangers of an uncontested China and Russia may lead to a strategic imbalance in evolving regions of geostrategic and geopolitical relevance. Thus, there should be focused policy solutions and military capabilities dedicated toward ensuring that China and Russia do not further challenge the status quo at the North Pole and South Pole.
In the Arctic region since the end of the Cold War, if not before, there has been a mismatch between the national interest of the United States as expressed on paper versus the drive to act on feelings expressed by the American public. The era of great-power competition, played out against the backdrop of rapid environmental changes and increasing commercial interests, has accelerated focus on the Arctic region across the US defense enterprise. And though looking outwardly at the stated and implicit intentions of the People’s Republic of China and Russian Federation in the region is valuable for strategists, we should also think about our internal strengths and weaknesses with regard to perceptions, investments, and actions in the Arctic of today and tomorrow.
The clear focus of US strategic thinking today is on China and the Indo-Pacific region. This reflects bipartisan consensus and continuity—at least in threat assessment—across presidential administrations. What does this focus on the Indo-Pacific mean for the Arctic? How does change in the Arctic affect the US strategic focus on the Indo-Pacific?
On 1 October 2021, Indian media and academia once again awakened from its sea-blindness to news coming through that India’s Adani Group has sealed a deal with the state-owned Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) to develop and run the strategic Colombo Port’s Western Container Terminal. Newsroom and academic circles once again began reveling in India’s new strategic heft in the island after a year of disappointing Indo-Sri Lanka bilateral relations. Understanding why the terminal deal is of high significance to India will require a brief description of Sri Lanka’s recent regional and global patterns of behavior that has been a cause of much frustration for New Delhi lately.
Book Review: 2034: A Novel of the Next World War, by Elliot Ackerman and James Stavridis. New York: Penguin Press, 2021. 320 pp. ISBN: 9780593298688.
This article addresses the blowback from France regarding the announcement of the trilateral AUKUS agreement.
With the current situation in Afghanistan unfolding faster than one can blink an eye, many have speculated that the Taliban’s seeming victory will be a confidence booster to multiple separatist and terror groups around the world, most notably to Southeast Asia and South Asia. The withdrawal also begs the question of whether US allies can rely on Washington for support in the face of China's aggression.
The February military coup and ensuing violence have pushed many citizens toward armed resistance. Civilian militias have emerged in the cities and countryside as a means for citizens to protect themselves from the State Administrative Council’s harsh crackdown on protests. Established ethnic insurgent groups have also offered sanctuary to political dissidents, as well as combat training to activists looking to oppose the military junta. In a grim turn, the SAC and security forces have also utilized the COVID-19 pandemic to their advantage as best they can. By restricting critical oxygen supplies and reserving vaccinations for its rank-and-file members, the Tatmadaw has found yet another means of rewarding those loyal to the SAC and controlling those expressing resistance.
As the battle for democracy in Myanmar rages on at the doorstep of China, Myanmar’s women will continue to stand on the front lines to prevent the triumph of authoritarianism. It is a tall order for them to reach a tipping point against the heavily armed military—which enjoys the support from authoritarian regimes such as China and Russia—without some substantive international assistance beyond encouragements and statements. The battle for democracy in Myanmar has become a symbolic contest between democracy and authoritarianism at the heart of the Indo-Pacific region. It will be in the best interest of the most prominent exemplars of democracy to assist Myanmar’s women achieve the tipping point to defeat the military regime. The failure to restore democracy in Myanmar will have reverberations throughout the Indo-Pacific. “The international community must recognize the courage of the women of Myanmar and stand with them in their fight for democracy.”
The views and opinions expressed or implied in JIPA are those of the authors and should not be construed as carrying the official sanction of the Department of Defense, Air Force, Air Education and Training Command, Air University, or other agencies or departments of the US government or their international equivalents. See our Publication Ethics Statement.