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Timeline: Arctic Military Presence

By Westerly Gorayeb

The Arctic is often depicted as an isolated and remote area, defined by its harsh climate and ice-choked waters—but the melting of the polar ice caps is creating new opportunities for trade and resource extraction. A more open and hospitable Arctic has also led to increased territorial claims and military presence by the eight countries that call the region home. The prospect of a conflict in the Arctic remains unlikely, as the Arctic Council, established in 1996, provides an integral means for cooperation, coordination, and interaction among Arctic states.

World Policy Journal examines the extent of military presence in the region, deployed as both a technique of surveillance and a means of protection, as a warming climate opens new paths. This timeline, adapted from the Map Room: Arctic Militarization feature that appeared in the Summer 2015 issue of World Policy Journal, illustrates how rapid ice melt in recent years has prompted increased military activity in the Arctic.

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