On Thin Ice: UK Defence in the Arctic Contents


117.It is clear from our inquiry that the changes in the natural environment in the Arctic and High North are having a significant effect on the security environment. Although the region is characterised by low tension, it cannot be taken for granted that it will remain this way and the renewed presence of a revisionist state in the region gives rise to the risk that the situation could change swiftly.

118.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.

119.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.

Published: 15 August 2018