Climate change is making the Arctic region—and its expected natural resources—more
accessible. Overlapping claims by the five Arctic littoral states—Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia and the United States—have led to fears of
future conflict in the region.
In recent years all five
countries have included increased protection of Arctic
territories and claims in their
defence policies. All five have also started to increase their military presences and
capabilities in the Arctic region
by acquiring Arctic-specific equipment, improving military infrastructure or increasing military forces.
While these changes are
sometimes portrayed as significant military build-ups
and potential threats to
security, the five states are
making only limited increases in their capabilities to project
military power beyond their recognized national territories. However, the increase in
military forces does give some reasons for concern, which
military confidence-building measures might help to mitigate.
III. Denmark, including Greenland
VI. United States
About the author
Siemon T. Wezeman(Netherlands) is a Senior Researcher with the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme, where he has worked since 1992. Among his publications are
several relating to international transparency in arms transfers.