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A U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules from the 39th Airlift Squadron, Yokota Air Base, Japan, performs low-level maneuvers during an exercise over Alaska, June 25, 2021. The Defense Department's latest regional center, focused on the Arctic, will be located in Anchorage.
A U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules from the 39th Airlift Squadron, Yokota Air Base, Japan, performs low-level maneuvers during an exercise over Alaska, June 25, 2021. The Defense Department's latest regional center, focused on the Arctic, will be located in Anchorage. (Emily Farnsworth/U.S. Air Force)

A new Defense Department regional security center focusing on the Arctic will be established in Anchorage, Alaska, the Pentagon has decided.

The location choice was announced Wednesday in a DOD statement. The exact site of the Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies, named after the former U.S. senator from the state, is still undetermined, the statement said.

The strategic importance of the Arctic is growing, with Russia and China competing for resources and eyeing new potential shipping routes there.

The facility will be the DOD’s sixth center for security studies, which provide “executive-level” education and training for U.S. and foreign military officials, civilians and nongovernmental participants, the Pentagon said.

The first center was established in Germany in 1993 and focuses on Europe. Other centers focusing on Africa, the Asia-Pacific region, Latin America, the Middle East and South Asia are all based in the United States.

Their ultimate aim is to advance U.S. national security priorities in the broader areas where they are located, a DOD statement in September said.

Anchorage is also home to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. The base is the headquarters of Alaska Command, a joint subordinate unified command of U.S. Northern Command that is responsible for operations in and around the state.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who secured authorization and $10 million in funding for the facility, said in a separate statement Wednesday that DOD’s decision to locate the center in Alaska was “incredibly welcomed news.”

“As a nexus for security cooperation, the center will soon play host to America’s global partners and allies along with a variety of federal and state authorities and academic institutions, also bringing economic benefit to the area,” Murkowski said. “I appreciate that the Department of Defense took our advice and made the right choice to locate the Center in Alaska.”

In September, Air Force Maj. Gen. Randy Kee was tasked with overseeing the establishment of the center as part of his duties as senior adviser for security in the Arctic.

The opening date for the center has not yet been announced.

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Phillip is a reporter and photographer for Stars and Stripes, based in Kaiserslautern, Germany. From 2016 to 2021, he covered the war in Afghanistan from Stripes’ Kabul bureau. He is a graduate of the London School of Economics.
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