The Senate on Thursday directed the Pentagon to establish a strategic Arctic port from which Navy and Coast Guard vessels could operate to demonstrate U.S. commitment to the region and further U.S. interests there.

The Arctic provision is contained in the Senate’s version of the fiscal year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which was easily approved by a vote of 86 to 8 on Thursday afternoon.

The bill says that “although much progress has been made to increase awareness of Arctic issues and to promote increased presence in the region, additional measures, including the designation of one or more strategic Arctic ports, are needed to show the commitment of the United States to this emerging strategic choke point of future great power competition.”

Language on the strategic port, contained in Sec. 1041 of the bill, calls for the Secretary of Defense to provide Congress a report within 180 days of enactment on potential sites for one or more ports in the Arctic. Within 90 days of the report’s submittance, the Senate wants the Defense Secretary to designate “at least one or more ports as Department of Defense Strategic Arctic Ports,” the bill says.

The bill says DoD report should also sort out how much capacity is needed for at least one Navy DDG-51 type destroyer, Coast Guard National Security Cutter, and Coast Guard heavy polar icebreaker. It also wants the report to address capacity needs for things like aerospace, maritime surface and subsurface warning, command and control, maritime domain awareness, homeland defense, search and rescue, disaster relive, weather measurements and forecasting, and humanitarian relief.

The report should also address the costs to construct and operate the port or ports, the bill says.

Another provision in the bill directs DoD to provide a report within 180 days on how bases in the northern latitudes, which are defined as bases in the Continental U.S. that are in states bordering Canada, can be used to further the U.S. Arctic Strategy.

DoD earlier this month released an updated Arctic Strategy that emphasizes existing, and potentially new, capabilities for U.S. forces to operate in the Arctic, as well as the need to conduct training and exercises for the region. The strategy also calls for “building Arctic awareness” in terms of improving communications, domain awareness, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and environmental sensing, modeling and awareness.

The new DoD Artic Strategy also highlights the need to maintain a credible deterrent in the Arctic, particularly in light of increased defense investments in the region by Russia and a fledgling Chinese presence that could evolve to include military assets.