The report ‘On Thin Ice: UK Defence in the Arctic’ says “new efforts” need to be made to “regenerate” expertise in working in the region.
Madeleine Moon MP, of the Defence Sub-Committee, said:
“The changing security environment in the Arctic and the High North is a matter of growing significance to the UK, given the strategic importance of the region and the increasing level of military activity we see. The UK has previously played a leading role in defending NATO’s Northern Flank and in maintaining maritime security in the North Atlantic.
The importance of this role is now returning to significance. The UK’s capabilities to perform these tasks still exist, but they are sustained at a low level and are in high demand elsewhere. A new level of ambition backed up by adequate resources is required to meet the developing threats we have identified.”
“Military activity is rising in the region in response to this new uncertainty and its strategic importance to the UK requires the Government to react. The UK sustains a range of capabilities which could play decisive roles. The recent focus on expeditionary operations in hot weather climates has however reduced the focus on the importance of sustaining specialist capability needed to operate in the Arctic and High North. New efforts should be made to regenerate this expertise.
If the definition of a leading defence nation is one which has the ability to deploy a range of capabilities anywhere in the world, then this includes the unique operating environment of the Arctic and the High North. Being able to do so is ultimately a question of resource and a question of ambition, and we call upon the Government to show leadership in providing both.”