Pentagon ponders where to build new Ted Stevens Arctic Center. Alaska? Maybe.

A new study conducted in Alaska and Canada’s northwestern Yukon territory found that river ice formations are melting a month earlier that expected. The next step is to find out why. (iStock)

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin this week announced the establishment of the “Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies.” But the center doesn’t physically exist yet. It doesn’t have any staff. And it might be located far from the Arctic. 

A Defense Department spokesman said three cities are under consideration for housing the Ted Stevens Center: Anchorage, Colorado Springs and Washington, D.C.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski said she’s made it very clear to Secretary Austin that she expects the center to be located in Alaska.

“He acknowledged that he was fully aware of that,” she said.

The Defense Department has five other regional defense study centers. They are academic forums and hubs for building international alliances. One in Hawaii is named for the late Sen. Daniel Inouye. He and Sen. Stevens were close friends.

The Pentagon didn’t originate the idea of an Arctic center. It’s a congressional mandate, added by the Alaska delegation. Murkowski inserted $10 million for it in an appropriations bill.

The Pentagon spokesman said the department will “immediately” begin the work of hiring a director. The Alaska delegation has already submitted its list of preferred candidates, Murkowski said.

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: Arctic Council united on northern cooperation, says Canada’s foreign minister, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: Arctic Finland to see biggest military exercise of the year, Yle News

Greenland: Five Eyes alliance urged to forge ties with Greenland to secure minerals, Thomson Reuters

Iceland: Icelandic PM meets with U.S. Secretary of State ahead of Arctic Council Meeting, Eye on the Arctic

Norway: USS New Mexico docked in Tromso on Monday as Norway, US bolster Arctic military ties, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: “We take for granted that there will not be any problem in the Arctic that requires a military solution,” says Russian Arctic ambassador, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Sweden seeks answers after allegations that U.S. spied on country with Denmark’s help, Radio Sweden

United States: U.S. Navy to build airport infrastructure in North Norway to meet upped Russian submarine presence, The Independent Barents Observer

Liz Ruskin, Alaska Public Media

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