July 21 (UPI) -- On Tuesday the U.S. Air Force released its new strategy for adapting to changing conditions in the Arctic region.
"The Arctic is among the most strategically significant regions of the world today - the keystone from which the U.S. Air and Space Forces exercise vigilance," said Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett in an Air Force press release. "This Arctic Strategy recognizes the immense geostrategic consequence of the region and its critical role for protecting the homeland and projecting global power."
The strategy is broken down into four "coordinated lines of effort" the Air and Space Forces intend to employ in the region: vigilance in all domains, projecting power through a combat-credible force, cooperation with allies and partners and preparation for Arctic operations.
"Historically, the Arctic, like space, was characterized as a predominantly peaceful domain," Barrett said Tuesday during a discussion hosted by the Atlantic Council. "This is changing with expanded maritime access, newly discovered resources and competing sovereign interests."
That includes monitoring potential threats, including air and missile threats in the region and controlling the satellite network that delivers space capabilities to partners as well as U.S. commands and providing the capability to reach remote northern locations with equipment like ski-equipped LC-130s that can land on ice.
"Our unique positioning in locations like Alaska, Canada and Greenland are integrated with multi-domain combat power," said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein. "These locations harness powerful capabilities, and their unwavering vigilance to protecting the homeland represent a strategic benefit that extends well beyond the region itself."
The strategy also describes working with allies throughout the region, including indigenous communities -- as well as specialized training and acclimation by both personnel and materiel.
"Spanning the first airplane flights in Alaska in 1913 to today's fifth-generation aircraft and sophisticated space monitoring systems operating in the region, the Arctic has consistently remained a location of strategic importance to the United States," Barrett said. "While the often harsh weather and terrain there call for appropriate preparations and training, Airmen and Space Professionals remain ready to bring the nation's Arctic air and space assets to bear to support the National Defense Strategy and protect the U.S. homeland."