Arctic and High North (Militarization) - Thematic Research
This report focuses on the militarization of the Arctic and High North. The Arctic region is becoming increasingly important as climate change-induced ice melt exposes valuable resources for the first time. Technological advances, such as new icebreakers, are facilitating widespread exploitation of these resources and are pushing more actors, both state and commercial, into the region.
After a short period of stagnation in the wake of the cold war, Arctic countries, especially Russia, have been enhancing their military activities. The increasing great power competition and threat perceptions in the Arctic region have forced Arctic countries to increase their defense expenditures.
The heightened tension has compelled Arctic countries to spend more money on defense and security. They are modernizing their military bases and opening new ones, procuring C4ISR systems in order to increase situational awareness and shorten the reaction time against threats, and developing the facilities and capabilities to project power to the region. The growing defense spending trend is expected to continue in the 2020s.
Although the immediate prospect of conflict in the Arctic is low, increasing military activities and territorial disputes could adversely affect the stability and ultimately degrade security in the region.
Directed energy weapons (DEWs) could provide a number of capabilities and advantages over traditional weapons due to their speed-of-light delivery, precision engagement, controlled/scalable effects, logistical benefits, and low cost per shot. Furthermore, DEWs are silent, offer plausible deniability, can travel immense distances relative to conventional weapons, and engage multiple targets. Consequently, these advantages will support the development of a wide spectrum of military equipment and capabilities.
Although DEW systems have the potential to be used for offensive purposes, currently, weapons development programs are mainly focused on defense systems.
- The Arctics physical environment continues to change, including through diminished sea ice coverage, declining snow cover, and melting ice sheets. This increases the importance of the Northern Sea Route (NSR) and the Northwest Passage.
- The Arctic was one of the key fronts of the global power struggle during the cold war, but lost much of its strategic value to the great powers after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Since the beginning of the 21st century, it has become an area where other Arctic countries, especially Russia, have increased their military presence. The region, where many Arctic countries, including Russia, are competing for regional, military and economic domination, is now more tense than ever.
- The ice sheets are melting due to rapid global warming and are subsequently making way for shipping lanes. Therefore, littoral states have increased their focus on the Arctic Ocean and the North Pole as the object of territorial claims.
Reasons to Buy
- Understand the importance of the Arctic region from the perspective of the Aerospace, defense and security.
- Identify the technology, macroeconomic and regulatory trends that could potentially influence military operations in the Arctic region.
- Understand the strategies and defense investments of the Arctic countries
- Understand the militarization of the Arctic value chain for the defense industry and identify some of the leaders and challengers at each stage of the value chain.
- Identify and benchmark key defense companies based on their exposure to the Arctic region.
Appendix: Our thematic research methodology
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