On November 17, the Atlantic Council hosted a part-day conference on Arctic security. The event began with a word of welcome by Board Director Sherri Goodman, and an introduction by Ambassador Wegger Chr. Strommen of Norway, who stressed the importance of Arctic issues not only to Norway, but to the world. 

Thorleif Thorleifsson, a Norwegian polar explorer whose recent 80-day journey around the North Pole made history, provided an opening briefing on the physical state of the Arctic. As he discussed his trip, he provided pictures and videos of the voyage, while noting the rapidly evolving landscape of the high north. His landmark trip revealed the opening of the Arctic as a near-term scenario—one that will affect not only countries in the Arctic neighborhood, but other nations as well, who are continually seeking new routes for efficient shipping and passage. 

Following his briefing, panelists discussed the strategic implications of the melting ice and glaciers for the 21st century. Rear Admiral and Assistant Commandant of the US Coast Guard Paul Zukunft provided a US perspective, while Robert Nurick, of the Atlantic Council, provided insight into the Russian strategic view of the Arctic. The third member of the panel, Rear Admiral Trond Grytting, added to the conversation by discussing Norwegian priorities in the region. The panel, moderated by Sherri Goodman, focused on the potential for conflict and cooperation over the opening waters, and the various strategies employed by Arctic nations. Because of the possibility of new shipping routes, in addition to vast oil reserves there, it is imperative that Arctic nations begin to prioritize the region, and thoughtfully consider how to manage this rapid evolution in the high north.  

The event was generously sponsored by the Norwegian Embassy.