Arctic Assets

Once considered nearly impenetrable, the Arctic is taking on new strategic importance as climate change melts its icy armor and trillions of dollars of resources become accessible. The eight nations that encircle the region are scrambling to assert and defend their claims over the Arctic, which remains one of the most daunting landscapes to project power on the planet.

Nations have jurisdiction over natural

resources on the seafloor in their Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs), no more than

200 nautical miles from their coasts.

Median

September

ice extent

1981-2010

Finland

Sweden

North

Pole

Norway

Alaska

(U.S.)

greenland

(Kalaallit Nunaat)

(Denmark)

Iceland

Faroe

Islands

(Denmark)

Russia, Norway, Denmark, and Canada

have made claims to the seafloor

beyond their recognized EEZs.

Finland

Sweden

Norway

Alaska

(U.S.)

greenland

(Kalaallit Nunaat)

(Denmark)

Iceland

Faroe

Islands

(Denmark)

Russia argues two underwater ridges

are on the Eurasian continental shelf—

and thus that its exclusive rights to the

seafloor extend all the way to the pole.

Lomonosov

Ridge

Lomonosov

Ridge

Finland

Sweden

Norway

Mendeleev

Ridge

Mendeleev

Ridge

Alaska

(U.S.)

greenland

(Kalaallit Nunaat)

(Denmark)

Iceland

Faroe

Islands

(Denmark)

In May Canada submitted a claim

to the UN for 463,000 square miles of

the Arctic seafloor, contesting Danish and

Russian claims to some of the same territory.

Finland

Sweden

Norway

Alaska

(U.S.)

greenland

(Kalaallit Nunaat)

(Denmark)

Iceland

Faroe

Islands

(Denmark)

Russia’s military is outpacing its

Arctic neighbors as it builds new bases

and stations larger forces in the far north.

Finland

Sweden

Norway

Alaska

(U.S.)

greenland

(Kalaallit Nunaat)

(Denmark)

Iceland

Faroe

Islands

(Denmark)

Canada and Russia are building Arctic ports

to serve as strategic hubs for refueling

and moving cargo and troops.

Finland

Sweden

Norway

Alaska

(U.S.)

greenland

(Kalaallit Nunaat)

(Denmark)

Iceland

Faroe

Islands

(Denmark)

All Arctic countries rely on a mix

of civil and military airfields to move throughout their frozen territories.

Finland

Sweden

Norway

Alaska

(U.S.)

greenland

(Kalaallit Nunaat)

(Denmark)

Iceland

Faroe

Islands

(Denmark)

Icebreakers are key tools for projecting

power in the Arctic, plowing through sea ice

so ships can follow in their wake. Russia has more icebreakers than any other nation;

China is also investing substantially in them. The U.S. has just one operational heavy icebreaker, used mostly in Antarctica.

Active icebreaker

Unavailable

Heavy icebreakers

Year-round operation in moderate

multiyear ice

Planned

Under construction

Medium

Year-round operation

in thick first-year ice

Light

Summer/

autumn operation

in medium first-year ice

Arctic Council

states

The eight

countries with land in the Arctic make up the Arctic Council. Iceland is a member but has no icebreakers.

Arctic

Council

observer status

Non-Arctic states approved by

the council with no voting rights

Non-

Arctic countries

Jason Treat and Riley D. Champine, Ngm Staff;

Scott Elder. Sources: Jane’s By Ihs Markit;

Office Of Senator Dan Sullivan; National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency; U.s. Coast Guard Office Of Waterways And Ocean Policy; International Boundaries Research Unit

Arctic Assets

Once considered nearly impenetrable, the Arctic is taking on new strategic importance as climate change melts its icy armor and trillions of dollars of resources become accessible. The eight nations that encircle the region are scrambling to assert and defend their claims over the Arctic, which remains one of the most daunting landscapes to project power on the planet.

All nations have jurisdiction over natural resources on the seafloor of their exclusive economic zones (EEZs) no more than 200 nautical miles from their coasts. Arctic nations have begun bolstering their infrastructure in the north in anticipation of increased commerce and activity.

Land

Naval

Rescue

Air

Ports

Canada and Russia are building Arctic ports to serve as strategic hubs for refueling and moving cargo and troops.

Military bases

Russia’s military is outpacing its Arctic neighbors as it builds new bases and stations larger forces in the far north.

Airfields

All Arctic countries rely on a mix of civil and military airfields to move throughout their frozen territories.

Yakutsk

Norilsk

Median

September

ice extent

1981-2010

Arkhangelsk

New

Siberian Is.

Polar competition

Russia argues the Lomonosov and Mendeleev Ridges are on the Eurasian continental shelf—

and thus that its exclusive rights to the seafloor extend all the

way to the pole.

North Land

Murmansk

Russian

claim

Franz Josef Land

(Russia)

Finland

Norwegian

claims

Sweden

Russian

claim

Svalbard

(Norway)

Wrangel I.

Danish

claim

Mendeleev Ridge

North

Pole

Norway

U.S. EEZ boundary

Danish

claim

Unclaimed

Canadian

claim

Utqiaġvik

(Barrow)

Jan Mayen

(Norway)

Faroe

Islands

(Denmark)

Alert

Alaska

(U.S.)

Canadian claims

In May Canada submitted a claim to the UN for 463,000 square miles of the Arctic seafloor, contesting Danish and Russian claims to some of the same territory.

Fairbanks

Hans Island

Ft. Greely

Overlapping

U.S./Canada

EEZ claims

greenland

(Kalaallit Nunaat)

(Denmark)

Northern Warfare

Training Center

Iceland

Thule (U.S.)

Keflavík

Cornwallis I.

Nanisivik

King

William I.

Gjoa Haven

Arctic refueling

The new port at Nanisivik

will provide refueling for

the Canadian Coast Guard and Navy, which will patrol the Northwest Passage as melting opens it to shipping.

Flying eyes

From a base at Keflavík, Iceland, NATO sends up regular air patrols to conduct surveillance and provide an early warning in the event of an incursion by Russian forces.

Nuuk

Icebreakers are key tools for projecting power in the Arctic, plowing through sea ice so ships can follow in their wake. Russia has more icebreakers than any other nation; China is also investing substantially in them. The U.S. has just one operational heavy icebreaker, used mostly in Antarctica.

Medium

Year-round operation in thick first-year ice

Light icebreakers

Summer/autumn operation in medium first-year ice

Heavy

Year-round operation in moderate multiyear ice

Russia

Arctic Council states

The eight countries with land in the Arctic make up the Arctic Council. Iceland is a member but has no icebreakers.

U.S.

Canada

Finland

Sweden

Denmark

Norway

Arctic Council

observer status

Non-Arctic states approved by the council with no voting rights

S. Korea

China

Germany

France

Italy

Japan

Chinese influence

With no Arctic territory

of its own, China is

partnering with Russia

to extract resources and

establish trade routes

as the Arctic thaws.

India

U.K.

Active icebreaker

Unavailable

S. Africa

Australia

Planned

Non-Arctic countries

Latvia

Estonia

Under construction

Argentina

Chile

Jason Treat and Riley D. Champine, Ngm Staff; Scott Elder.

Sources: Jane’s By Ihs Markit; Office Of Senator Dan Sullivan; National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency; U.s. Coast Guard Office Of Waterways And Ocean Policy; International Boundaries Research Unit