Arctic Special Operations Project


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(21.6mb .pdf file)


Project Sponsor

Department of National Defence (Canada) - Mobilizing Insights in Defence and Security (MINDS) targeted engagement grants project.
(project content, results, opinions, perspectives, etc. do not represent the position of DND and the MINDS program)

Project awarded as part of the Targeted Engagement Grants 2020-2021 Round 2 - (Link)



Project host:

The Center for Arctic Security and Resilience - University of Alaska Fairbanks


Project Support:

The North American Arctic Defence and Security Network


Project Start/Length

  • November 2020 - Award granted
  • April 2021 - Project start
  • September 2022 - Project complete



The North American Arctic warrants serious consideration of how defence forces will maintain situational awareness (SA), safeguard resources, and prepare for potential conflict. In particular, little is known or understood about how special operation forces (SOF) maintain and develop SA, organize and train to operate in normal-to-extreme Arctic circumstances, and achieve cultural proficiency with Indigenous peoples. Also unclear are the authorities and permissions government and military leaders need to employ SOF in the homeland. The research component of this project aims to address how SOF is currently postured to address the emerging security needs, challenges, and threats to, through, and in the North American Arctic in the 21st Century.



  • Dr. James R. Morton, Jr. principal investigator, Assistant Research Professor, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Alaska, USA and Lieutenant Colonel, US Army Reserves.
  • Troy J. Bouffard, editor, Director of CASR
  • Dr. Ryan Burke, lead researcher for United States content - Homeland Defense Institute - United States Air Force Academy / USNORTHCOM
  • Dr. Leah Sarson, lead researcher for Canada content - assistant professor at Dalhousie University
  • Dr. P. Whitney Lackenbauer, project advisor and support - Director of NAADSN


Event Graphic