Research: Fall 2023

Fall 2023 (NSDA Research):

Arctic Militarization

Every few months (seasonally) the 21st Century Debate Institution releases a series of debate topics for students to debate at our online (and eventually in-person) events. 

This topic comes from the National Speech and Debate Association for public forum events taking place during Sept-Oct 2023.

For more information about upcoming contests, and how you might participate, please use the “events calendar” from the above menu. Or you can click here: Upcoming Events.

[SEPT-OCT 2023] NSDA "Public Forum" Debate Topic

Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its military presence in the Arctic.


The Arctic, the vast icy region at the top of our planet, is becoming a hot topic in international politics. This is because the ice in the Arctic is melting due to climate change, opening up new sea routes and making it easier to access the region’s natural resources like oil and gas. As a result, many countries, including the United States, Russia, and China, are showing increased interest in the Arctic.

The United States has always had a presence in the Arctic, but now there’s a debate about whether it should increase its military presence there. Some people believe that a stronger military presence would help the US protect its interests in the region. These interests include securing new shipping routes and ensuring access to natural resources. A stronger military presence could also help the US respond to emergencies in the Arctic and conduct scientific research. However, others worry that increasing the US military presence in the Arctic could lead to problems. For example, it could harm the fragile Arctic environment or escalate tensions with other countries. It could also be expensive and take resources away from other important areas.

Increasing U.S. Military in the Arctic (PRO)

1. Securing Interests: A stronger military presence could help secure new shipping routes and natural resources.
2. Emergency Response: Increased US military could help us respond more effectively to emergencies.
3. Scientific Research: An increased military presence could support more extensive scientific research.

Increasing U.S. Military in the Arctic (CON)

1. Escalation of Tensions: A stronger military presence may escalate tension with countries like Russia & China.
2. Environmental Impact: Increased military activity could harm the fragile Arctic environment.
3. Resource Allocation (Trade-Off): A stronger military presence would be expensive and take resources away from other areas.


Please watch all of the required videos (& take notes) before arriving to your the first debate class meeting.

Required Research (Videos):

[VideoAs Arctic ice melts, NATO plots northern defense tactics,
Military Times, July 29, 2023 [4 min]

[VideoArctic Exploration (for Science!),
Ocean Today, Last accessed: August 2023 [3 min]

[VideoRussia’s militarization of the Arctic shows no sign of slowing down,
CNN, Last Updated: December 22, 2022 [3 min]
Note: Please read the article too.

[VideoMilitarization of the Arctic: NATO, Russia, and China,
Foreign Policy Association, October 27, 2022 [4 min]

[VideoThe militarization of Russian polar politics,
Chatham House, September 25, 2022 [5 min]

Required Research (Articles):

[ArticleRussia/China vie to beat US in trillion-dollar race to control Arctic,
CNBC News, February 6, 2018

[ArticleRussian military moves in the Arctic worry the U.S. and NATO,
Yahoo News, June 11, 2022

[ArticleRussia’s militarization of the Arctic shows no sign of slowing down,
CNN, Last Updated: December 22, 2022 [3 min]

Note: Please watch the video too.

[ArticleFrozen Frontiers: China’s Great Power Ambitions in the [Arctic],
Center for Strategic & International Studies, April 18, 2023
Note: Keep scrolling/reading until the picture disappears (the rest is optional).


Please consider watching/reading the following research areas in order to prepare for upcoming events.

Optional Research (Videos):

[VideoPolar power play: Who will win the race for the Arctic’s riches?
DW News, March 19, 2021 [26 min]

[VideoTopic Discussion: Arctic Militarization,
Champion Briefs, September 2023 [20 min]
Note: This is a debate teaching website and cannot be quoted as evidence, yet you can use the evidence they provide in the video.

Optional Research (Articles):

[ArticleNATO’s Cold Response: Implications of Militarization in the Arctic,
Columbia Climate School, Columbia University, June 8, 2022

[Article(s)Arctic Initiative: Addressing challenges & opportunities created by rapid climate change in the far North,
Harvard University, Last Accessed: August 2023

ADDITIONAL RESEARCH (Evidence & Arguments)

Here are some potentially useful outlines for evidence, arguments, & rebuttals/rejoinders.


Contact Information

Bill Eddy,
Phone: 714.655.8135 (I prefer text)

Note: When contacting me, please include your name and class information (day/time). Thanks

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