North Atlantic Treaty Organization
August 25, 2022
NATO is stepping up in the High North to keep our people safe
Op-ed article by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg – originally published by Canada’s Globe and Mail on 24 August 2022.
This week I am visiting the Canadian Arctic with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to underline the region’s strategic importance for Euro-Atlantic security. The shortest path to North America for Russian missiles or bombers would be over the North Pole. This makes NORAD’s role vital for North America and for NATO. So I look forward to visiting the North Warning System – an early-warning radar site – in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut. We will also visit Canada’s world-class tactical fighter force at the Cold Lake air base.
In Cambridge Bay, we will also visit the Canadian High Arctic Research Station and meet members of the Canadian Armed Forces deployed in the Arctic as part of Operation Nanook, which included maritime patrols with Danish, French and U.S. counterparts.
…Authoritarian regimes are clearly willing to use military intimidation or aggression to achieve their aims. At the same time, they are stepping up their activities and interest in the Arctic.
China is…expanding its reach, declaring itself a “near-Arctic state” and planning a “Polar Silk Road” linking China to Europe via the Arctic….Earlier this year, Beijing and Moscow pledged to intensify practical co-operation in the Arctic, as part of a deepening strategic partnership that challenges our values and interests.
…Once Finland and Sweden join the Alliance, seven out of the eight Arctic states will be members of NATO. Finland and Sweden’s membership will significantly enhance our posture in the High North and our ability to reinforce our Baltic Allies.
NATO is already increasing our presence in the High North. A new NATO Command ensures….Allies including Canada are investing in new air and maritime capabilities. NATO and NATO Allies regularly conduct Arctic and anti-submarine exercises to ensure we remain ready to operate in all conditions and defend every inch of Allied territory from any threat. Two of NATO’s largest exercises in recent years – Trident Juncture and Cold Response – were in the High North.
…NATO is increasing our presence and vigilance across the Alliance, including in the High North….