Bolstering Arctic Domain Awareness to Deter Air & Missile Threats to the Homeland

Arlington, VA | June 22, 2023 — The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies is pleased to announce a new entry in its Policy Paper series, Bolstering Arctic Domain Awareness to Deter Air & Missile Threats to the Homeland by Caitlin Lee, Senior Fellow at the Mitchell Institute.

 The Arctic has remained an attractive attack vector for both U.S. and Russian long-range aviation and missiles since the earliest days of the Cold War. The growing Arctic presence of China reinforces the region’s significance as a staging ground for air and cruise missile attacks.

The U.S. Department of Defense continues to invest billions to defend against limited ballistic missile attacks, but the U.S. military’s ability to detect, track, and defeat a cruise missile strike emanating from the Arctic has degraded significantly over the past 30 years. China or Russia could exploit this shortfall using conventional cruise missile attacks, to deal a quick blow that keeps U.S. military forces at distance and avoid a nuclear response.

Bolstering deterrence against conventional air and cruise missile threats in the Arctic starts by improving U.S., ally, and partner domain awareness and information dominance capabilities. Together, domain awareness and information dominance can underwrite a comprehensive “missile defeat” strategy, left and right of launch, that gives U.S. leaders more options to deter an attack on the U.S. homeland.

The Mitchell Institute Policy Papers is a series presenting new thinking and policy proposals to respond to the emerging security and aerospace power challenges of the 21st century. These papers are written for lawmakers and their staffs, policy professionals, business and industry, academics, journalists, and the informed public.

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