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0900 Alaska time – 11 August 2022

The Leadership, Faculty, and Staff of the Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies (TSC), a Department of Defense Regional Center, proudly announce that the Center’s Opening Ceremony will take place at 0900 Alaska time on 11 August 2022.

This ceremony intends to serve as an introduction to the Stevens Center for the Arctic Security Community, in recognition of the TSC achieving “Initial Operating Capacity” and therefore considered a“soft” opening for the Center. A formal “ribbon cutting” event with invited International and U.S. VIPs is planned after the TSC achieves “Full Operating Capacity” and after the TSC’s facility is refurbished.

The Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies:  “Open for Business”

On Thursday, 11 August 2022, the Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies (TSC) ceremonially “opened for business” at the planned future home of the Center at Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson (JBER) in Anchorage, Alaska.

The TSC is DoD’s first regional center to open in more than 20 years and will support professional education for Arctic security and defense practitioners, while advancing research and analysis about the Arctic (ranging from geophysical to geostrategic matters).  It will also be a center for engagement on Arctic security across the interagency and with Allies and partners.   At its core, the TSC supports DoD’s efforts in Integrated Deterrence for the region as the “soft power complement, to hard power investments” to secure our sovereign territory, support America’s asymmetric advantage of true interoperable endeavors with Allies and partners, in order to deter and dissuade adversaries from taking actions against U.S. National Interests in and across the Arctic.  The TSC is already advancing on its assigned missions…via establishing a network of like-minded professionals from government, academia, industry and internationally…to include listening and learning…and applying lessons and insights from the Arctic Indigenous Community…who have been in the Arctic since time began.

The opening ceremony event took place at the Ted Stevens Center’s future home, the former Mt. Spurr Elementary School on JBER. After decades of educating the DoD’s youth, the site will now host Arctic educators and military and civilian leaders internationally and domestically. As the site is still being refurbished, the TSC will continue to serve in an “expeditionary” mindset at the new center and leverage this space as the “hub”…of a developing network that spans from Western Alaska to Finland and includes collaborations and partnering from the Indo Pacific, the Americas and Europe.

TSC hosted Arctic leaders from across the US government and the Alaskan leadership community, to include the Commander Alaskan NORAD Region, Alaskan Command and 11th Air Force, Lt Gen David Krumm,  Commander of the North American Aerospace Command (NORAD) and U.S. Northern Command, General Glen VanHerck, Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, Admiral Linda Fagan, Principal Deputy to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Hemispheric Affairs, Ms. Jennifer Walsh, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Global Partnerships Ms. Michelle Strucke, Director, Defense Security Cooperation Agency, Mr. Jim Hursch, Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK), State of Alaska Lieutenant Governor Kevin Meyer, and Chief Aaron Leggett of the Alaskan Native village of Eklutna.

Additionally, the Center was honored to have in attendance Commander, Pacific Air Forces, General Ken Wilsbach, President, Alaska Federation of Natives, Ms. Julie Kitka, incoming commander of Alaskan NORAD Region, Alaskan Command and 11th Air Force, Lt Gen David Nahom, former Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force, General Carroll, “Howie” Chandler, USAF (Ret), Commander, 11th Airborne Division (Arctic), Maj General Brian Eiffler, USA, Commander, U.S. Coast Guard District 17, Rear Admiral Nathan Moore, as well as a number of other distinguished visitors who joined in person or on-line.

The Ted Stevens Center was most honored to have present the widow and family of Senator Stevens, Mrs. Catherine Stevens, so she could see her husband’s legacy solidified in the opening of his namesake Arctic Security regional center.

More than 100 domestic and international practitioners attended in person, while more than 100 viewers tuned in on-line to celebrate this ceremonial step forward for the U.S. commitment to address the developing contours of the defense and security landscape of the emerging Arctic.  The TSC is honored to support the needs of research, practitioner education, and strategic engagement across the Arctic to support both policy and security cooperation goals for the Department of Defense…to include aspects of Climate Security of the region.

As authorized and appropriated by the National Defense Authorization Act of 2021, the Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin approved the establishment of the Stevens Center on 9 June 2021.  Subsequently, on 17 November 2021, DoD announced Anchorage as the sole candidate city for the new center.  On 28 December 2021, the 2022 NDAA formally established the TSC as DOD’s sixth regional center in Anchorage.   On 25 February 2022, the Department formally aligned the TSC to Commander, U.S. Northern Command.  On 5 May 2022, Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson, Alaska was determined as the specific site for the Stevens Center and we are in the final stages of securing this former elementary school made in 1954 to serve as the center’s operational hub.

The TSC reports directly to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Arctic and Global Resilience, is part of the Regional Center family, functionally guided by Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Global Partnerships and responsive to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Hemispheric Affairs.

The Center achieved a Pentagon approved set of parameters defining Initial Operating Capacity on 1 July 2022 and is moving forward to achieve Full Operational Capacity by 1 July 2023.  With guidance and priorities provided by the Office of the Secretary of Defense and Commander, U.S. Northern Command, the Center is administratively supported by Defense Security Cooperation Agency. 

The Ted Stevens Center joins five previously established regional centers and is already adopting a number of important processes and practices from these established institutions and will partner closely with the centers that engage with countries having Arctic interests.  Provided the same authorities as the established regional centers, the Stevens Center will support DOD’s Arctic and regional Climate Security priorities, which include protecting the U.S. homeland, maintaining a favorable balance of power in the region, and promoting a shared approach to regional security, and respecting the existing rules-based order.

The Arctic is perhaps the most dynamic region on the planet. Encroachment by rival great powers with diminishing sea ice and thawing permafrost are increasingly providing new opportunities and posing growing risks to the peace and security of the Arctic. Under the guiding concept of DoD’s “Integrated Deterrence,” Arctic security is about more than hard power. The Stevens Center will provide the expertise, research, and strategic engagement necessary to ensure that the alignment of the various elements of national power, climate security, and relations with Indigenous communities in the Arctic are consistent with U.S. objectives in the region and conform with national level strategic guidance and direction. The TSC would like to thank its partners, and all those in attendance at our ceremony, for their arduous work and support in making the Ted Stevens Center a reality and helping this new regional Center support the DoD and Interagency in advancing networks and solutions domestically and internationally, in support of the U.S. national security interests as well as those of our allies and partners…across the Arctic region.

Contributors to this article include Mr. Tony Smith, Mr. Jason Roe, Dr. Kathryn Newton, Dr. Kathryn Friedman, Dieter “Deets” Bareihs, Brig Gen, USAF (Ret) and Randy “Church” Kee, Maj Gen, USAF (Ret), all part of the Stevens Center family.