Photo: Jonathan Nackstrand

This map highlights military activity within the Arctic, focusing on seven types of events: Exercises and Training, Deployments, Missile Tests, Naval Incidents, Overflights, Air Defense Operations, and Air Policing. Click along to learn more about the capabilities and countries involved.

Strategic competition has arrived in the Arctic. In an effort to secure its vast Far North, pursue its economic ambitions in a region made more accessible by climate change, protect its second-strike nuclear capabilities, and project power into the Central Arctic, Bering Sea, and North Atlantic, Russia has been restoring its military presence. In the past decade, it has revitalized Soviet-era bases, deployed missile defense systems, invested in domain awareness capabilities, increased aerial and maritime patrols, and stepped up its exercise schedule. Russia’s military activities in the Arctic have in turn led the United States, NATO members, and close U.S. partners such as Sweden and Finland to increase their own regional military capabilities with a commensurate uptick in exercises, deployments, patrols, and capability investments.

With such a significant increase in military activity, the purpose of the CSIS Arctic Tracker is to provide an up-to-date repository of military incidents for use by experts, policymakers, and academia. A regularly updated list of events can be found in the table below in chronological order, beginning with the most recent. We encourage readers to use the date and search features to find specific events, capabilities, or locations, or to use the map above for an overview of incidents in particular sub-regions of the Arctic.

We hope the Arctic Tracker provides an accurate picture of strategic competition in the Arctic as policymakers search for ways to enhance transparency of their military activities, develop confidence building measures, and create dialogue mechanisms to avoid conflict.

Please note that many locations on the map are not necessarily precise and may have been chosen to represent a larger area. The tracker began cataloguing Arctic incidents in September 2020 and we are constantly updating to increase accuracy. We value your questions, comments, and feedback. We also welcome notification of events we may have missed. Contact the Europe, Russia, and Eurasia Program.

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This project is generously funded by The Lillan and Robert D. Stuart Jr. Center