During a routine hearing of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, Sen. Lisa Murkowski had the opportunity to discuss Arctic military needs with Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Reiterating concerns about Russian military activities, Sen. Murkowski asked for more details about expenditures to address Arctic national security deficiencies, noting that the Northern Command (NORCOM) is currently working on a report about Arctic needs.
“We’re beyond the time to be doing plans, and quite honestly I’m not interested in more studies,” she said. “We need to be moving forward…. If this committee were inclined to give you meaningful guidance on how to move forward to implement an Arctic national security strategy within this [appropriations] bill, what do you suggest we do? We agree we have plenty of issues from the military and defense and national security perspective, and other nations are looking at us wondering, ‘What about the United States?’”
Secretary Carter agreed the Arctic is a major area of importance to the U.S., but conceded the U.S. has recognized this too late. “A plan that is more than aspirational is needed, and I’d be happy to work with you,” he said.