Hosted by the U.K.’s Ministry of Defence, this 15th running of the Arctic-focused gathering continued the forum’s legacy of building and enhancing Arctic awareness and cooperation, while promoting collective efforts to promote security and stability across the Arctic region. ASFR is co-chaired by the Norwegian Defence Staff and U.S. European Command (USEUCOM)
“Against the backdrop of Russia’s continued aggression in Ukraine, it’s imperative for likeminded Arctic nations to show cohesion in our common efforts to keep the Arctic region safe and secure,” said Army Maj. Gen. Ingrid Margrethe Gjerde, Norwegian Armed Forces’ deputy chief of staff for plans and ASFR co-chair. “ASFR serves as one of the instrumental ways in which we maintain security cohesion and continue all important dialogue.”
ASFR conducts two meetings each year, alternating between in-person gatherings hosted by Arctic nations Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and the U.S. and virtual gatherings hosted by observer nations France, Germany, the Netherlands or the U.K.
“The U.K.’s Arctic strategy is quite clear,” said Sebastian Carr, U.K. Ministry of Defence’s head of Europe and Canada policy team and host of the day’s gathering. “We will defend our Arctic Allies should the need arise, and contest malign and destabilizing activity that threatens our interests, the interests of our Allies and the stability of the region.” The UK published “The U.K.’s Defence Contribution to the High North” in March 2022 and renewed the nation’s Arctic Framework in February 2023.
Established and co-chaired by Norway and USEUCOM since 2010, the ASFR is a flag-and-general-officer level, military-to-military forum designed to promote regional understanding and enhance multilateral security cooperation in the High North. ASFR is the longest running military forum focused on the Arctic’s uniquely challenging security dynamics.
“Together with a full range of bilateral and multilateral exercises and operations spanning the High North’s air, land, sea and space, ASFR serves a critically important role,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Daniel Lasica, USEUCOM’s director of plans, policy, strategy and capabilities and ASFR co-chair. “This forum continues to be a long-standing example of the strength and unity of purpose shared by European and North American Ally and partner nations alike.”