U.S. Coast Guard to unveil Arctic strategy

A small-boat crew from the 225-foot Coast Guard Cutter Juniper, homeported in Newport, R.I., is underway in Pond Inlet, in Nunavut, in the Arctic, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012. The ship’s crew is on an Arctic deployment to enhance interoperability with international forces and to provide the experience of working and responding to incidents in the harsh Arctic environment. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Cynthia Oldham.

A small-boat crew from Coast Guard Cutter Juniper is underway in Pond Inlet, in Nunavut, in the Arctic, Aug. 30, 2012. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Cynthia Oldham.

The U.S. approach to the Arctic region must reflect our values as a nation and as a member of the global community. We will approach holistically our interests in promoting safety and security, advancing economic and energy development, protecting the environment, addressing climate change and respecting the needs of indigenous communities and Arctic state interests.National Strategy for the Arctic Region.

Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Bob Papp receives a briefing on Arctic conditions. U.S. Coast Guard Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.

Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Bob Papp receives a briefing on Arctic conditions. U.S. Coast Guard Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.

The U.S. Coast Guard’s value to the nation resides in our proven ability to protect those on the sea, protect the United States from threats delivered by sea and protect the sea itself. Our unique authorities, capabilities, competencies and partnerships as a military, law enforcement, regulatory and humanitarian service are central to that value proposition. We are recognized worldwide for our ability to execute these diverse maritime missions over vast geographic areas and under the most challenging and demanding conditions.

As we prepare for the future, the emerging maritime frontier of the Arctic is significantly expanding our operating area. Last September we observed the lowest sea ice extent in recorded history, and there are vast areas of open water where there used to be ice. Activity in the most remote reaches of Alaska continues to evolve and grow, including planned drilling operations in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, foreign tankers using the northern sea routes which transit through the Bering Strait and Sea, and small cruise ships pressing even further into the Arctic. As the receding ice invites increased human activity in commercial and private ventures, there is increasing demand for the Coast Guard to ensure the safety, security and stewardship of the nation’s Arctic waters.

Satellite data reveal how the new record low Arctic sea ice extent, from Sept. 16, 2012, compares to the average minimum extent over the past 30 years (in yellow). Sea ice extent maps are derived from data captured by the Scanning Multichannel Microwave Radiometer aboard NASA's Nimbus-7 satellite and the Special Sensor Microwave Imager on multiple satellites from the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program. Credit: NASA/Goddard Scientific Visualization Studio.

Satellite data reveals how the new record low Arctic sea ice extent, from Sept. 16, 2012, compares to the average minimum extent over the past 30 years. Credit: NASA/Goddard Scientific Visualization Studio.

We must think and act strategically.

Tomorrow, I will release the U.S. Coast Guard Arctic Strategy to guide our efforts in the region over the next 10 years. This strategy is based on nearly 150 years of Coast Guard experience in maritime operations in the Arctic region, since the U.S. Revenue Cutter Lincoln first arrived in the new U.S. territory of Alaska in 1867.

The U.S. Coast Guard Arctic Strategy documents our intent to pursue three key objectives: improving awareness, modernizing governance and broadening partnerships.

Beyond these objectives, we will continue to build upon our Service’s long heritage of leadership in the Arctic, working with Federal, state, local and territorial partners to ensure maritime governance in the region.

Semper Paratus. Stand a taut watch.

R.J. PAPP, JR.
Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard

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  • gryphonskymaster

    Where are the icebreakers and polar avdets?