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  1. The current Arctic security environment is poorly characterized. In the past few years, it has been termed “a return to great-power competition” and now is oscil- lating around discussions of hybrid threats or gray-zone warfare. Whatever the term, these are methods and means designed to avoid notice, obscure intent and origin, and exploit the seams in the targets’ awareness and response capabilities. In this article we use the term asymmetric competition (AC) to describe such ac- tivities, which exist as a continuum of conflict below open warfare, rather than fitting neatly into the binary notion of war and peace. While many national se- curity scholars and practitioners are aware of and concerned about the use of AC by the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the ability of the United States and its allies to detect and protect against such behavior is limited. At the same time, the PRC has demonstrated a growing interest in the Arctic due to the region’s geo- strategic importance and has taken an unusually aggressive posture toward as- serting and securing Beijing’s interests there. We conducted an initial assessment to detect the extent, types, and tempo of AC using the Strategic Intelligence Framework (SIF)—a systems science methodology—to identify PRC asymmet- ric competition activities in the North American Arctic. Our results suggest an ongoing and pervasive AC campaign. We offer that integrative frameworks like the SIF can assist the United States, its allies, and its partners in detecting and characterizing AC with the accuracy and precision required for the development of strategy, policies, and response. 
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