Dr. Kristian Åtland*: The Building up of Russia’s Military Potential in the Arctic Region and Possible Elements of its Deterrence


The security environment in the Arctic has undergone significant changes in recent years, as have the dynamics of Russia’s relationship with its Western neighbors. Since 2008, Russia has invested heavily in the modernization of its armed forces. Many of the new capabilities, including some that are designed specifically for operations in the Arctic, were showcased at the Victory Day parade in Moscow earlier this week. The country’s military presence and activity in the Arctic has grown in scope, scale, and geographic reach. The military exercises are larger, more frequent, and more complex than before, and they often come with little or no advance notice. Russia’s military actions in other parts of the world, most notably in Ukraine since 2014, have had a distinctly negative impact on Russia’s relations with the West and created new security concerns also for the country’s northern neighbors. Within NATO, renewed attention is being paid to “the Russia factor” and to the emerging military security challenges on the northern flank of the Alliance.

At the same time, it is recognized that the Arctic is still a generally peaceful and stable region with a number of well-functioning regional cooperation arrangements such as the Arctic Council. There are a handful of unresolved issues pertaining to borders and jurisdiction in the northern waters, but the maritime delimitation disputes in the Arctic are not more numerous or more pressing than disputes in maritime areas of similar size elsewhere in the world. All of the Arctic coastal states, including Russia, seem to agree that the remaining and possible future disputes must be settled on the basis of international law and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). This is also the essence of the joint declaration that was signed by the five coastal states’ Foreign Ministers during a meeting held in Ilulissat, Greenland, in August 2008.[1]

Within NATO, opinions are divided as to what role the Alliance should play in the region in the coming years and decades, and whether NATO should beef up its military presence and exercise activity in the northern waters and airspace. At one end of the spectrum is Canada, which has been reluctant to strengthen NATO’s presence and role in the region. At the other end of the spectrum is Norway, which has been trying to draw NATO’s attention and resources towards the emerging security challenges in the maritime areas north of the Arctic Circle. Despite the fact that the Arctic is not mentioned in NATO’s current strategic concept, which was adopted at the Lisbon summit in 2010,[2] there seems to be a growing understanding within the Alliance, including in the U.S., of the need for a systematic and serious approach to the topic of Arctic security.

This paper consists of two main parts. The first one will shed some light on Russia’s military potential and pattern of military operations in the Arctic region and how it has changed in the past decade. The second part will discuss measures that Russia’s Arctic neighbors have taken, or may take, in order to preserve military, political, and ecological stability in the region. Such measures include NATO’s collective efforts to deter and defend against Russian expansionism as well as risk-reducing and stability-enhancing measures taken by Russia’s neighbors in the Arctic, either unilaterally or in regional or other multilateral settings.

Russia’s Military Potential in the Arctic

In the decade that has passed since Russia’s much-hyped flag planting on the ocean floor at the North Pole in August 2007, there has been much talk about the danger of a new military build-up in the Arctic region. Russia has traditionally been a key player in this part of the world, and the country’s Arctic strategy, adopted in 2008, leaves little doubt that Russia attaches great importance to its long-term economic and security interests in the region. The implementation of the strategy has been accompanied by a gradual increase in Russia’s military activity in the Arctic, at sea as well as in the air and on land. Russia’s naval presence in the northern waters is higher today than it was in the 1990s and early 2000s, on the surface as well as under water.

The Borei-class and Delta IV submarines that operate from the Kola Peninsula can carry more than 400 strategic nuclear warheads, which constitute around 60 percent of Russia’s sea-based nuclear deterrent.[3] The remaining 40 percent of Russia’s sea-based strategic nuclear weapons are found on the Pacific Fleet’s SSBNs, which operate from Vilyuchinsk at Kamchatka.  These, too, occasionally venture into Arctic waters. In the 2000s, the number of Russian SSBN patrols in the Barents Sea and other parts of the Arctic has grown, and it nearly doubled in 2015 compared to the previous year.[4] Since August 2007, Russia has also conducted numerous long-range bomber patrols and air exercises in the international airspace over the Barents Sea, the Greenland Sea, and other parts of the Arctic.

On the Russian Arctic islands and archipelagos – Franz Josef’s Land, Novaya Zemlya, Severnaya Zemlya, the East Siberian Islands, and the Wrangel Island – and in the northern coastal regions of Siberia, Russia has in recent years established new military infrastructure in the form of airfields, naval port facilities, radars and early warning installations, and air defense systems. Some of these installations are built from scratch. Others are Cold War-era installations that were closed down and abandoned in the 1990s, but which have been revitalized and modernized in recent years and are now operational and permanently manned by military personnel. Other forms of military, civilian, and dual-use infrastructure are also being developed. This includes, among other things, the FSB’s new border guard stations and the ten search and rescue coordination centers and logistics bases that have been established along the Northern Sea Route. All of this is an indication of Russia’s willingness to strengthen its foothold in the Arctic. 

In December 2014, Russia established an Arctic Joint Strategic Command (“OSK Sever”), with headquarters in Severomorsk. The new Arctic command, which comes in addition to the four regionally based operational-strategic commands established in 2010 (“OSK Zapad”, “OSK Yug”, “OSK Tsentr”, and “OSK Vostok”), integrates all of the naval, ground, air, and air defense units located within the command area, which extends all the way to the East Siberian Sea. Russia’s ground force units in the Arctic, which are primarily concentrated in the country’s northwestern corner, have also been upgraded and equipped with new weaponry and vehicles, including tracked “Vityaz” all-terrain vehicles for off-road operations in Arctic environments. The motorized infantry brigades in Pechenga and Alakurtti, not far from Russia’s borders with Norway and Finland, are now increasingly referred to as “Arctic Brigades”. Efforts have also been made to make them more mobile than they have been in the past, so that they can be used also in other parts of the Russian Arctic.

Russia’s airborne forces (“VDV”), the main parts of which are located well south of the Arctic Circle, in Pskov and Ivanovo, have in recent years conducted a growing number of exercises, including parachute landings, in the Arctic. The exercises have taken place on the Siberian mainland as well as on the Russian Arctic islands and on the sea ice near the North Pole. Former Commander-in-Chief of the Airborne Forces, General Vladimir Shamanov, who is currently Chairman of the Duma’s Defense Committee, has been particularly enthusiastic about these activities. In March 2014, an entire battalion of VDV paratroopers, numbering 350 people, was airdropped over the Temp airfield on the Kotelny Island in the first-ever mass landing of paratroopers in the Russian Arctic.[5] Similar airdrops have been conducted on the Arctic sea ice, though on a somewhat smaller scale. Some of the airborne exercises in the Arctic have involved personnel from Chechnya,[6] and from Russia’s CSTO allies, such as Belarus and Tajikistan.[7] Personnel from the Murmansk branch of the FSB’s Border Guard Service have also been airdropped on to the Arctic sea ice near the North Pole, as recently as in April this year.[8]

The symbolic value of these activities is probably larger than the practical military utility. For outside observers, it is difficult to envision conflict scenarios which would necessitate the deployment of large numbers of Russian military or border guard personnel to the North Pole, or for that matter to the remote islands located north of Western, Central, and Eastern Siberia. As noted in 2009 by the Chief of the Canadian Defence Staff, General Natynczyk, “if someone were to invade the Canadian Arctic, my first task would be to rescue them”.[9] The General’s observation probably holds true also for the remote, frozen, and unhospitable Russian Arctic, which is unlikely to be occupied or annexed by Russia’s northern neighbors anytime soon.

Moreover, and on a more serious note, it is difficult so see how Russia’s military muscle-flexing in the Arctic corresponds to Russian political leaders’ long-standing rhetoric about the Arctic as a “zone of peace” and a “territory of dialogue”. As noted in 2016 by the Canadian scholar Rob Huebert, there seems to be a “disconnect”, or at least some degree of discrepancy, between what Russia says about the Arctic (the political rhetoric), and what it does (the practical policy, particularly within the military field).[10]

Part of the problem seems to be that Russia’s political and military leaders are incapable of seeing how their country’s behavior and actions in the Arctic, and for that matter in other parts of the world, may be perceived by other actors as potentially threatening. When Russia’s northern neighbors, or NATO as an Alliance, initiate defensive measures to protect their security, these measures are typically perceived in Russia as being of an offensive and potentially threatening nature, and used as a pretext for a further strengthening of Russia’s military capabilities in the Arctic. Russia’s own measures, which include the acquisition of new military capabilities, increases in the number of sea and air patrols, and changes in the scope or pattern of Arctic military operations, are typically presented as being of a defensive and reactive nature only.

A recent statement by former Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov illustrates well how Russia looks at its own military policy in the Arctic. Ivanov, who is now the President’s Special Representative for Environmental Protection, Ecology, and Transportation, stated in a TV interview on 24 April this year that “Russia’s military bases in the Arctic are of an exclusively defensive character and pose no danger to international security”.[11] His predecessors and successors have consistently made similar statements. In their view, the surrounding world has no reason to fear Russia, in the Arctic or elsewhere, and we should understand that Russia means us no harm. Russia is, in its own eyes, not a revisionist power, but rather a status quo power that is responding defensively to threats from the outside world.

Judging from recent strategy and policy documents, the Russians are concerned that their four Arctic Ocean neighbors, who also happen to be NATO allies, intend to take control of natural resources and/or shipping lanes rightfully belonging to Russia. Russian media and policymakers have in the past decade had a tendency to portray any foreign military activity in the Arctic as hostile, provocative, and unnecessary, even when such activity is conducted in full accordance with international law and does not infringe on recognized Russian rights. For instance, in 2009, the Secretary of the Russian Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev, stated that “the United States, Norway, Denmark, and Canada are pursuing a common and coordinated policy aimed at denying Russia access to the riches of the Arctic continental shelf”.[12] Obviously, such statements are often intended for domestic audiences and should not necessarily be taken at face value. At the same time, there are many indications that Russia’s military security concerns related to the region are genuine.

The Kola Peninsula’s role as the primary basing area for Russia’s sea-based strategic deterrent is clearly an important factor in this regard. The development of increasingly sophisticated Western sea- and land-based defense systems against ballistic missiles seems to be a source of particular concern for the Russians, and a driving force behind Russia’s modernization of its own nuclear arsenal. In February 2012, General Nikolai Makarov, at the time Chief of the Russian General Staff, stated that “we will not accept that U.S. vessels equipped with the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System operate in our part of the Arctic”.[13]  He added that Russia had “matching measures ready” to counter such a turn of events.[14] Russian authorities, including the Russian Embassy in Oslo, have also on numerous occasions warned Norway against participating in, or contributing to, NATO’s missile defense system.[15] Whether Norway will participate in this project, and if so, in what form, is still an open question. 

The United States, on its part, maintains that its anti-ballistic missile (ABM) measures, including the efforts to equip a growing number of U.S. Navy cruisers and destroyers with ABM-capable Aegis missile defense systems, are not directed against Russia but rather the missile threat from rogue states such as Iran and North Korea. In December 2011, then-U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pointed out that “we have explained through multiple channels that our planned system will not and cannot threaten Russia’s strategic deterrent. It does not affect our strategic balance with Russia and is certainly not a cause for military countermeasures”.[16]

The examples above illustrate well how Russia’s threat perceptions and worldviews differ from those of the West and NATO, and how this is affecting the security situation in the Arctic. Here, as in many other parts of the world, Russian-Western security relations are characterized by a lack of mutual trust. To some extent, this may have to do with the fact that Russia and the other Arctic coastal states do not have a proper forum in which to discuss military security issues such as the ones mentioned above. Russia is neither a NATO member nor part of the Western security community. The Arctic Council, of which Russia is a prominent member, is not seen as a forum in which “hard” security issues can or should be discussed. In the Arctic, as in other maritime border regions, military relations between Russia and the West are increasingly marked by the presence of “action-reaction” dynamics in the military field. These may lead to an incremental militarization of the region that is neither desirable nor necessary. Restoring trust and confidence, and preserving regional stability, is a challenging task. And there is every reason to believe that it will take time.

Meeting the Challenges: Deterrence, Defense, and Confidence-Building

Faced with the reality of growing Russian military capabilities in the Arctic, including the nuclear and conventional naval forces based on the Kola Peninsula, NATO needs to make clear that it is prepared to invest in its own defense capabilities and ensure that NATO’s own deterrence is credible. Credible deterrence includes the ability to escalate from a peacetime to a crisis posture and, if necessary, to a full defense effort. Needless to say, NATO’s article 5 commitments do apply to all of the member states and to all parts of their land, sea, and air territory, including remote areas such as the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, located halfway between the northern tip of the European mainland and the North Pole. NATO’s contingency plans for the North Atlantic and the European Arctic need to be revised and updated, and interoperability needs to be boosted through exercises and training. The training must continue to include exercises where the transfer of Allied reinforcements to the High North is a key element. It is important that Russia does not miscalculate the commitment of the Alliance to respond rapidly, appropriately, and decisively to any aggression against a member state.[17]

Simply put, deterrence is a strategy intended to dissuade an adversary from undertaking an unwelcome action, such as an armed attack on one’s territory. In the theoretical literature on deterrence, it is often distinguished between “deterrence by punishment” and “deterrence by denial”.[18] In the first from of deterrence, the deterrent effect is achieved through the existence of a credible threat of retaliation against the aggressor. This form of deterrence is based on the assumption that the defender, if attacked, will be able and willing to inflict a level of pain on the attacker that exceeds whatever gains he may have hoped to achieve through his aggression. This was the dominant form of deterrence during the Cold War. In the second case, “deterrence by denial”, the goal is to persuade the enemy not to attack by convincing him that his attack will be defeated, that is, that he will not be able to achieve his operational objectives. The latter form of deterrence seems to have grown in relevance in recent years.[19] It may be argued that NATO’s efforts to reassure its “frontline” member states in northeastern Europe through the rotational, forward presence of American and multinational ground and air forces can be interpreted as an indication of this.

NATO’s ability to deter Russia and protect the member states’ sovereignty and sovereign rights in the High North relies not only on the combined military strength of the Alliance, but also the speed with which operationally relevant forces can deploy to the region in the event of a crisis.[20] NATO’s internal political and military decision-making processes inevitably take time, since they require the consensus of 28 sovereign states prior to a deployment. Thus, improving readiness and mobility through capability enhancement, organizational change, and training is the key to achieving strategic advantage in a conflict scenario.

The NATO exercises that are being held on a regular basis in Northern Norway and in the Norwegian Sea serve much of the same purpose, in the sense that they increase the operational and tactical proficiency of the participating units. The exercises also give NATO’s member and partner nations an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the Arctic operational environment. For instance, last year’s edition of the “Cold Response” exercise involved some 15,000 troops from 14 NATO member and partner nations. In July this year, Norway will host a sizeable command and control exercise, called “Trident Javelin”, and in 2018, Norway will host NATO’s second so-called “high visibility” exercise, called “Trident Juncture”. This one is expected to involve some 30,000 troops and significant amounts of military hardware.

The decision to hold large “high visibility” exercises every third year was made at NATO’s Wales Summit in September 2014, shortly after Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine, and the first exercise of this type one was held in 2015. NATO’s ambition for 2020 is to have “a coherent set of deployable, interoperable and sustainable forces [that are] equipped, trained, exercised, commanded and able to operate together and with partners in any environment”.[21] This is a high ambition which will place heavy demands on NATO’s commitment to force modernization and military training in the coming years.

Norway’s (and NATO’s) ability to deter and defend against external threats, pressures, and military aggression is a central theme in Norway’s Long-Term Defense Plan for the period from 2017 to 2020, which was adopted in 2016.[22] Military means are still seen as playing an important role in the preservation of regional stability and the maintenance of situational awareness. Norway’s traditional role as NATO’s “eyes and ears” in the European Arctic has not become less relevant in the 2000s. As outlined in the Defense Plan, investments will be made in new maritime patrol aircraft, new diesel submarines, and other capabilities suited for this purpose.[23] Norway is working closely with key allies such as the U.S., the U.K, and Denmark to develop NATO’s defense capabilities in the Arctic. All four nations are also active participants in the F-35 “Joint Strike Fighter” program, which will substantially expand their power projection capabilities. The U.K. has purchased, and Norway is in the process of acquiring, state-of-the-art maritime patrol aircraft (P-8 “Poseidon”), which in combination with the American P-8s operating out of Keflavik Air Station will improve NATO’s situational awareness within the Arctic maritime domain and strengthen NATO’s combined anti-submarine warfare capabilities.

The U.S. Navy’s “Arctic Roadmap”,[24] which was adopted in 2014 and covers the period up to 2030, makes it clear that the United States intends to preserve and further develop its ability to carry out submarine operations in the Arctic, in open water as well as under the sea ice. The U.S. Navy currently operates three classes of nuclear-powered attack submarines capable of performing missions in the Arctic,[25] and ice exercises (ICEX) are held in the waters north of Alaska on a biennial basis, most recently in March 2016. These exercises often involve personnel from other NATO countries, such as Canada, Norway, and the U.K.,[26] occasionally also British nuclear submarines. With varying frequency, the submarine forces of the U.S. Navy have been conducting under-ice operations in the Arctic for almost 60 years (since 1958), and they have gained significant experience in this period. U.S. and British nuclear submarines also regularly conduct patrols and participate in anti-submarine warfare (ASW) exercises in the Barents Sea and other parts of the Arctic.

It may be argued that the U.S. Navy has few surface vessels capable of operating in the Arctic. The same goes for the surface navies of most other NATO countries. However, it can be noted that funding for the design and building of a new multi-million-dollar icebreaker for the U.S. Coast Guard is finally underway, and that building is planned to start in 2020.[27] The U.S. Coast Guard’s two heavy icebreakers, the “Polar Star” and the “Polar Sea”, are both around 40 years old and in dire need of replacement. Other Arctic coastal states, such as Canada, Denmark, and Norway, all have ice enforced patrol vessels capable of conducting operations in the Arctic, either alone or in a supporting role for naval forces. But these, too, are limited in numbers and icebreaking capacity.

It should be pointed out that the emerging, and increasingly complex, security challenges in the Arctic cannot be addressed solely by military means. The list of emerging challenges includes not only military – or “hard” – security challenges, but also non-military – or “soft” – security challenges. The latter category of challenges is closely related to the process of climate change. Warming air and water temperatures are changing the physical geography of the Arctic. The retreat of the polar ice cap is opening up previously inaccessible parts of the region to resource exploration, fisheries, and ship traffic, and this is creating a wide range of new environmental security challenges and marine safety concerns for the coastal states. Regardless of the dynamics within the sphere of “hard security”, the emerging “soft security” challenges in the region will require an increased degree of interstate cooperation and coordination at the bilateral and regional levels. And the prospects for meaningful cooperation with Russia within the sphere of “soft security” are certainly better than the prospects for meaningful Russian-Western cooperation within the sphere of “hard security”.

The signing of an Arctic Search and Rescue Agreement under the auspices of the Arctic Council in 2011, and the establishment of the Arctic Coast Guard Forum in 2015, are, in my view, important steps in the right direction. As Norway’s experience in the Barents Sea has shown, it is possible, even in the current geopolitical environment, to maintain a significant degree of practical cooperation with Russia, simultaneously with the enforcement of the sanctions regime and the freeze in military-to-military cooperation. Joint endeavors within the field of “soft security”, for instance between Coast Guards, Border Guards, and Maritime Search and Rescue Services, may also contribute to the preservation of the region’s vulnerable marine environment, and the enhancement of marine safety.

In the current geopolitical environment, marked by high and growing mistrust between NATO and Russia, incidents and episodes in the northern waters and airspace may escalate more easily than they have in the past, either as a result of misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the other side’s military behavior or as a result of genuinely irreconcilable conflicts of interest. Disputes and conflicts may also spill over from one region to another, for instance as part of a larger NATO-Russia confrontation. This phenomenon, known from the days of the Cold War, is often referred to as “horizontal” escalation”. [28] Disputes and military-to-military interactions may also remain geographically confined, but escalate along the “vertical” axis, that is, through the increased use of force.[29] It is also possible to imagine a combination of “horizontal” and “vertical” escalation scenarios.[30] In any event, it is important to be aware of these mechanisms, and develop the means necessary to control them. Transparency and predictability are key elements in this regard.

Norway and Russia have in recent years been able to make use of an informal “hot line” that has been established between their northern military headquarters. The duty officer at the Norwegian Joint Headquarters, located at Reitan outside Bodø in Northern Norway, has a direct communication channel to his Russian counterpart at the Northern Fleet’s staff in Severomorsk.[31] This working-level “hot line” offers an around-the-clock channel to communicate concerns, formulate questions and answers, and thereby prevent misunderstandings and unintended escalation of incidents and episodes in the region.

Similarly, the Incident at Sea Agreement (INCSEA) between Norway and Russia, which regulates how the two countries’ naval forces signal, navigate, and communicate when they meet outside their own territorial waters, is highly relevant in this regard. The agreement, signed in 1990, contains important rules of conduct not only for naval vessels but also for military aircraft, particularly with respect to how they should behave in the vicinity of the other party’s air and naval vessels. The need to maintain a safe distance, refrain from provocative or dangerous maneuvers, simulated attacks, etc. are key to avoid mishaps. General or episode-specific concerns relating to the other side’s compliance with the provisions of the agreement may be raised and discussed in high-level meetings between the two countries’ military authorities. Such meetings are still held on a regular basis, most recently in Oslo in November–December 2016.

In addition to Norway and the United States, ten other NATO members have bilateral INCSEA agreements with Russia, and four NATO members have bilateral agreements with Russia on the prevention of dangerous military activities (so-called DMAs). There are also a number of OSCE agreements, such as the 2011 Vienna Document,[32] which regulates important military aspects of confidence and security, particularly on land, and the Open Skies Treaty,[33] which entered into force in 2002. The latter treaty provides a mechanism for the enhancement of arms control transparency through mutual overflights by reconnaissance aircraft. In the current international climate, it is important that all parties, including Russia, abide by already existing agreements on arms control and incident management and actively work towards the common goal of greater military transparency, in the Arctic as well as in other Russian-Western frontier regions.[34]

Concluding Remarks

Speaking at the Arctic Circle conference in Reykjavik in November 2014, Norway’s then Deputy Foreign Minister, Bård Glad Pedersen, noted that “security policy in the Arctic needs to be based on a modern and comprehensive understanding of security”, one that includes “territorial, ecological, social and political dimensions”. At the same time, he emphasized that “security policy – in the traditional sense – also needs to be part of the mix”.[35] Thus, the emerging environmental, societal, or human security challenges in the Arctic have not replaced the military security challenges. Rather, the non-traditional and non-military security challenges come in addition to the traditional and military ones, and they will require approaches and strategies that are different from – and more comprehensive than – those applied in the sphere of military and territorial security.

Russia’s military modernization, which has been in steady progress since 2008, and Russia’s growing military activity in the northern waters and airspace, does not in itself constitute a threat to the country’s northern neighbors. What makes it challenging, seen from a security perspective, is the increasingly non-transparent and sometimes outright provocative nature of the activity. Russia’s anti-Western rhetoric and military muscle-flexing, not to mention Russia’s violations of its southern neighbors’ borders, sovereignty, and territorial integrity, have raised legitimate security concerns among the country’s neighbors in Northern Europe and rendered practical military cooperation with Russia virtually impossible. This is, unfortunately, part of “the new normal” in Europe.

In this situation, it is only natural that Russia’s neighbors, including those in the Arctic, reassess their security vulnerabilities and capability requirements for the future. Dealing with a resurgent and increasingly assertive Russia is only one of many challenges in the Arctic. Equally demanding are the emerging environmental security and marine safety challenges caused by climate change and the growing human presence in the region. Ensuring that the region’s living marine resources are managed in a responsible and environmentally sustainable manner is an important task for all of the Arctic coastal states. The same goes for the oil spill preparedness and emergency response missions. The capabilities needed for such purposes may not necessarily be relevant for military missions, and the coastal states’ military assets in the Arctic may not necessarily be best equipped to deal with the non-military security challenges. But one has to be able to do both.


* Information about the Author:

Dr. Kristian Åtland, Senior Research Fellow, Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI)


Paper prepared for the conference “Russian Activeness in the Arctic: Goals, Trends, and Security Challenges”, organized by the Centre for Russian Studies and the Diplomatic Academy of Ukraine, Kyiv, 12 May 2017.

[1] “The Ilulissat Declaration”, signed 28 May 2008, is available at http://www.oceanlaw.org/downloads/arctic/Ilulissat_Declaration.pdf.

[2] “Active Engagement, Modern Defence: Strategic Concept for the Defence and Security of the Members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation adopted by Heads of State and Government”, Lisbon, 19 November 2010, http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/official_texts_68580.htm.

[4] Franz-Stefan Gady: “Russian Sub Combat Patrols Nearly Doubled in 2015”, The Diplomat, 23 March 2016, http://thediplomat.com/2016/03/russian-sub-combat-patrols-nearly-doubled-in-2015/.

[5] “350 Russian paratroopers land on Arctic island in exercises”, TASS, 14 March 2014, http://tass.com/russia/723486.

[6] Trude Pettersen: “Chechen special forces instructors landed on Svalbard”, BarentsObserver, 13 April 2016, https://thebarentsobserver.com/en/2016/04/chechen-special-forces-instructors-landed-svalbard

[8] Thomas Nilsen: “Russian Border Guard Service conquers the North Pole”, BarentsObserver, 13 April 2017, https://thebarentsobserver.com/en/borders/2017/04/russian-border-guards-conquer-north-pole.

[9] Heather Exner-Pirot: “Comment: – Put up or shut up with your Arctic conflict theory”, High North News, 2 November 2015, http://www.highnorthnews.com/put-up-or-shut-up-with-your-arctic-conflict-theory/.

[10] Rob Huebert: “The Future of Maritime Activity in the Arctic: The Return of the Great Game”, presentation in Victoria, BC, 5 October 2016, http://www.mscconference.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/2-Huebert-Arctic.pdf.

[11] “Ivanov: rossiyskie voyennye bazy v Arktike ne ugrozhayut mezhdunarodnoy bezopasnosti” [“Ivanov: Russian military bases in the Arctic do not threaten international security”], TASS, 24 April 2017, http://tass.ru/armiya-i-opk/4205879 (my translation). 

[12] “Patrushev: protiv Rossii v Arktike vedut skoordiniovannuyu politiku” [“Patrushev: A coordinated policy against Russia is pursued in the Arctic”], Gazeta, 30 March 2009, http://www.gazeta.ru/news/lenta/2009/03/30/n_1346529.shtml (my translation).

[13] Atle Staalesen: “Russian general sends Arctic warning to USA”, BarentsObserver, 16 February 2012, http://www.barentsobserver.com/russian-general-sends-arctic-warning-to-usa.5021760.html

[14] Ibid.

[15] “Commentary from the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Norway to ‘Dagbladet’ in connection with the joint Norwegian-US development of parameters for the Norwegian contribution to the missile defense system of NATO”, 9 March 2017, http://www.norway.mid.ru/en/press_17_010.html.

[16] Jackie Northam: “Clinton, Russia Spar Over Missile Defense System”, NPR, 8 December 2011, http://www.npr.org/2011/12/08/143386914/clinton-russia-spar-over-missile-defense-system.

[17] Malcolm Chalmers: “The UK and the North Atlantic after Brexit”, in John Andreas Olsen (red.): NATO and the North Atlantic (London: RUSI 2017), p. 37.

[18] See for instance Glenn H. Snyder: Deterrence by Denial and Punishment (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press 1959).

[19] See for instance A. Wess Mitchell: “The Case for Deterrence by Denial”, The American Interest, 12 August 2015, https://www.the-american-interest.com/2015/08/12/the-case-for-deterrence-by-denial/.

[20] John W. Nicholson: “NATO’s Land Forces: Strength and Speed Matter”, PRISM, Vol. 6, No. 2 (July 2016), http://cco.ndu.edu/Portals/96/Documents/prism/prism_6-2/Nicholson.pdf?ver=2016-07-05-104620-387.

[21] NATO: “Connected Forces Initiative”, 22 June 2016, http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/topics_98527.htm.

[23] Ibid.

[24] U.S. Navy: “Arctic Roadmap 2014–2030”, published in February2014, http://greenfleet.dodlive.mil/files/2014/02/USN-Arctic-Roadmap-2014.pdf.

[25] The Los Angeles class, the improved Los Angeles, and the Seawolf class. See John Patch: “Cold Horizons: Arctic Maritime Security Challenges”, U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, Vol. 135, No. 5 (May 2009), p. 53.

[26] For details, see “ICEX 2016: Arctic Operations and Scientific Investigations”, Undersea Warfare, Spring 2016, http://www.public.navy.mil/subfor/underseawarfaremagazine/Issues/PDF/USW_Spring_2016.pdf.

[27] Ronald O'Rourke: “Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress”, Congressional Research Service, 20 March 2017, https://fas.org/sgp/crs/weapons/RL34391.pdf.

[28] Forrest E. Morgan et al.: “Dangerous Thresholds: Managing Escalation in the 21st Century”, RAND, 2008, http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/monographs/2008/RAND_MG614.pdf, p. 18.

[29] Ibid.

[30] Morgan et al., op. cit., p. 19.

[31] “Norwegian Joint Headquarters:  – We talk to Russia over Skype”, High North News, 17 June 2016, http://www.highnorthnews.com/norwegian-joint-headquartes-we-talk-to-russia-over-skype/.

[32] “Vienna Document on Confidence- and Security-Building Measures”, OSCE, 30 November 2011, http://www.osce.org/fsc/86597?download=true

[33] Treaty on Open Skies”, OSCE, 24 March 1992, http://www.osce.org/library/14127.

[34] Łukasz Kulesa, Thomas Frear & Denytsa Raynova: “Managing Hazardous Incidents in the Euro-Atlantic Area: A New Plan of Action”, European Leadership Network, 2 November 2016, http://www.europeanleadershipnetwork.org/medialibrary/2016/11/02/ab4a4c1d/ELN%20Managing%20Hazardous%20Incidents%20November%202016.pdf.

[35] “Security in the Arctic – a Norwegian perspective”, Speech by State Secretary Bård Glad Pedersen at the Arctic Circle Conference in Reykjavik, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway, 2 November 2014, https://www.regjeringen.no/no/aktuelt/security-arctic/id2351274/

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