This Roadmap outlines the Navy’s strategic approach for the Arctic Region and the ways and means to achieve the desired national end state. Resource constraints and competing near-term mission demands require that naval investments be informed, focused, and deliberate. Proactive planning today allows the Navy to prepare its forces for Arctic Region operations. This Roadmap emphasizes low-cost, long-lead activities that position the Navy to meet future demands. In the near to mid-term, the Navy will concentrate on improving operational capabilities, expertise, and capacity, extending reach, and will leverage interagency and international partners to achieve its strategic objectives. The Roadmap recognizes the need to guide investments by prudently balancing regional requirements with national goals.
Naval operations in high latitudes provide unique challenges to planning, seamanship, ingenuity, endurance, and foresight. The elements, always dangerous, become hostile. Mountainous seas, stormforce winds and near-zero visibility for days on end put tremendous strain on men and material. The Arctic has been defined in a variety of ways. For naval considerations, it is considered to be the area surrounding the geographic North Pole consisting of a deep central basin; the peripheral shallow seas (Bering, Chukchi, East Siberian, Laptev, Kara, Barents, and Norwegian); ice-covered portions of the Greenland and Norwegian Seas; Baffin Bay, Canadian Archipelago, Seas of Japan and Okhotsk; the continental margins of Canada and Alaska; and the Beaufort Sea.