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US Navy

U.S. Naval War College Hosts Newport Arctic Scholars Initiative Conference

US Navy

26 May 2021
From Michael Guterl

NEWPORT, R.I. -- The U.S. Naval War College hosted a virtual Newport Arctic Scholars Initiative (NASI) conference April 28-29 to discuss new frameworks on Arctic cooperation and to further strengthen global maritime partnerships in the Arctic.

One of the main goals of NASI is to improve dialogue and professional cooperation among Chiefs of Navy and naval professionals through the development of an Arctic Ocean Naval Symposium.

"During our virtual presentation to Arctic Heads of Navy last October, our leaders tasked this group of scholars to further develop the finding and recommendation of an Arctic Ocean Naval Symposium, a multilateral international mechanism that brings the navies together throughout the world to discuss and strengthen maritime security cooperation for the Arctic region," said Rear Adm. Shoshana Chatfield, president of the U.S. Naval War College "That is your charge this year."

In addition, some of the objectives of NASI were to identify and examine options for a multilateral framework for the Arctic region that facilitates dialogue and professional cooperation among international Chiefs of Navy during peacetime, draft a business charter to govern the practical functioning of an AONS forum and identify key tasks and considerations for Arctic political military to implement an AONS forum.

"The evolving Arctic security environment now demands far more dialogue, coordination and cooperation from us all—Arctic and non-Arctic nations alike," said Professor Walter Berbrick, Ph.D., co-lead scholar of the Newport Arctic Scholars Initiative and an NWC associate professor. "The creation of AONS would enable the discussion of issues related to maritime security and defense and promote security, cooperation and coordination among international naval leaders."

The eight Arctic nations would collaborate to develop confidence building measures to prevent accidents and miscalculation given their greater interests in the Arctic. AONS would present an opportunity to improve information flow and lead to a collective understanding, while promoting cooperative solutions to promote security partnerships, preserve maritime access and provide ready naval forces to respond to crises and contingencies.

"With the increased international focus on the Arctic, this work could not come at a better time as we work to establish dialogue between all the Arctic states on naval operations to avoid misunderstandings and deterioration of maritime security in the Polar Sea," said Cmdr. Johannes Riber of the Royal Danish Navy and a 2021 NASI Scholar.

The Arctic nations represented were Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and the United States, though the members are taking part as scholars and not as officials of their governments. U.S. policy didn't allow Russia to be invited, but NWC NASI faculty have said they hope that the opportunity will come in the future for Russia to attend.

NASI meets three times a year and will release their preliminary results at the International Sea Power Symposium in September.

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