"Russia has actually, to my mind, and this is a contested point among observers, mostly played by the rules in the Arctic and they have demonstrated a level of cooperation on Arctic issues that is useful," Petersen said on Wednesday.
However, Russia’s expanding military presence in the Arctic warrants some caution on the part of the United States and NATO, Petersen warned.
"They are expanding their capabilities — they have always had tremendous capability to operate in the Arctic — and are increasing their forces," Petersen stated. "That gives me pause, given Russia's recent history of relative cooperation on Arctic issues.
He added, "I am still optimistic that we can find areas to cooperate."
The goal of his institute, Petersen explained, is to cull "the best of what academic research is out there" and use it to help inform US stakeholders’ decisions about handling challenges that emanate from Russia.
The institute, based in the US state of Rhode Island, directs that research to the US Navy, Coast Guard, joint force, Department of Defense and other entities.