By: Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Randy "Church" Kee, USAF, Senior Advisor, Arctic Security Affairs, Ted Stevens Center
The Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies (Stevens Center), a Department of Defense (DOD) Regional Center, was established by the Secretary of Defense effective 9 June 2021. The Stevens Center supports DOD tasks in executive education, research and analysis, and engagement/outreach for the Arctic region. The Stevens Center, located on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska, achieved Initial Operating Capacity as of 1 July 2022 as defined by the approved DOD plan for center development and is planned to achieve Full Operational Capacity on 1 July 2023.
The Stevens Center joins five prior established DOD Regional Centers for Security Studies:
- The George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies located in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
- The Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies located in Honolulu, Hawaii
- The William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies and located in Washington, DC
- The Africa Center for Strategic Studies located in Washington, DC
- The Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies located in Washington, DC
The central mission of DOD Regional Centers for Security is to promote integrated, collaborative responses to transnational threats; foster common perspectives on regional security challenges; and strengthen binational and multinational institutional relationships. In so doing, each center promotes the intellectual interoperability that underpins full-spectrum security cooperation and builds our nation's and our partners' capacity to collaborate against shared threats. Prioritized areas of focus include territorial security; transnational and asymmetric threats; and defense sector governance. The mission of the Stevens Center is to build strong, sustainable, domestic and international networks of security leaders and to promote and conduct focused research on Arctic security to advance DOD security priorities in the Arctic region that include addressing the impacts of climate change in the region.
The Stevens Center programs have included three full and three executive seminar editions of an Arctic fundamentals program titled, "Arctic Region Security Orientation Course (ARSOC)," the first of approximately twenty-five executive education programs planned for the Stevens Center School of Arctic and Climate Security Studies. The full ARSOC program is a five-day, thirty-five contact course on the entirety of Arctic security fundamentals that includes keynote speakers, expert panels, guided breakout groups, online questionnaires, and a final capstone exercise. The executive version of ARSOC compresses five days into five hours. The Stevens Center also has a new Arctic maritime law course coming up in early December 2022.
In support of Strategic Engagement, the Stevens Center led a team for the development of Alaskan Command's Arctic Symposium 2022, a four and one-half day comprehensive program that involved more than fifty speakers and facilitators, and more than 280 registered in-person and 180 online participants. The program included two Combatant Commander presentations, tabletop exercises, academic and technology showcase programs, field experiences, Strategic Foresight Analysis, and evening programs. The Stevens Center was in close partnership with the Alaska Command (ALCOM) and the University of Alaska (UA) and UA's Arctic Domain Awareness Center for AAS22 planning and execution. the AAS22 event hub materials are located on the Arctic Domain Awareness Center website. In November 2022, the Stevens Center launched a new webinar series titled, "Hot Topics and Cold Facts for the High North." This new series is produced in collaboration with the Woodrow Wilson Center Polar Institute and is a revitalization of the prior Arctic Security Dialogues partnered between the Polar Institute and the Arctic Domain Awareness Center.
During October of 2022, the Stevens Center completed a robust participation at Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavik, Iceland, conducting three important panels on Arctic Security, participating in the overall US panel on the Arctic, and establishing a strong partnership with the George C. Marshall Center for European Security Seminar-North workshop series. Additionally, The Stevens Center is supporting the International Cooperative Exchange Program for Polar Research (ICE-PPR) led by the Office of Naval Research, and is directly leading the US delegation for Situational Awareness in this multinational research collaboration. In partnership with Air University Press at Maxwell AFB Alabama, the Stevens Center has established the new Journal of Arctic and Climate Security Studies. This new journal provides an opportunity for authors to contribute to the developing community focused on defense and security concerns. Contributions should be submitted via email to jacss [at] au.af.edu. Submission deadline is 13 January 2023. Our planned publishing date is mid-March 2023.
The Stevens Center is honored to be directly listed in the Presidential-approved National Strategy for the Arctic Region as an instrument "to build strong networks of domestic and international leaders to advance expertise and cooperation in the Arctic."
Further news and detailed information are available via the Stevens Center website.
Stevens Center Responsible Officials
Maj Gen (Ret.) Randy "Church" Kee serves as Senior Advisor for Arctic Security Affairs. In this capacity, Mr. Kee supports the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy in the establishment and early operations of the Stevens Center. Prior to his appointment, Mr. Kee served as the Executive Director of the Arctic Domain Awareness Center at the University of Alaska, a Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence in Maritime Research.
Mr. Craig L. Fleener, an experienced Arctic security and defense leader, joined as the Stevens Center's deputy advisor in January 2022. In this capacity, Mr. Fleener supports the Senior Advisor for center establishment. While a full time DOD civilian, Mr. Fleener also continues a long and distinguished career as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Alaska Air National Guard.
Rear Admiral (Ret.) Matthew T. Bell Jr, USCG, joined the Stevens Center in April 2022 as Dean of the Stevens Center School of Arctic & Climate Security Studies. Dean Bell is responsible for the executive education program designed with the end goals of protecting the US homeland, maintaining a favorable balance of power in the region, and promoting a shared approach to regional security and respect for the existing rules-based order. His thirty-six year Coast Guard career includes numerous operational tours in Alaska.