Nov. 22 the DOD released its Arctic strategy. The news release is here. but I have quoted it in full below:
“Department of Defense Announces Arctic Strategy
“Today the Department of Defense released its Arctic Strategy during a speech by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel at the Halifax International Security Forum in Nova Scotia, Canada. The strategy document may be viewed at http://www.defense.gov/pubs/2013_Arctic_Strategy.pdf.
“Secretary Hagel’s speech can be read here.”
The strategy itself is actually pretty short, only 16 glossy pages. The readers digest version breaks down to, the DOD will work with allies and partners both internationally and domestically to assure the Arctic remains,
“…a secure and stable region where U.S. national interests are safeguarded, the U.S. homeland is protected, and nations work cooperatively to address challenges.”
The Coast Guard released its own, much more detailed strategy earlier, reported here.
Worth noting, DOD Strategy’s definition of the Arctic, like that of the National and Coast Guard strategies, extends well south of the Arctic Circle:
“The DoD strategy uses a broad definition of the Arctic, codified in 15 U.S.C. 4111, that includes all U.S. and foreign territory north of the Arctic Circle and all U.S. territory north and west of the boundary formed by the Porcupine, Yukon, and Kuskokwim Rivers; all contiguous seas, including the Arctic Ocean and the Beaufort, Bering, and Chukchi Seas, and the Aleutian islands chain.”
This might be of particular interest to the Coast Guard:
“Department will work through the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) to maintain air tracking capabilities in the Arctic. As the maritime domain becomes increasingly accessible, the Department will seek to improve its maritime detection and tracking in coordination with DHS and other departments and agencies as well as through public/private partnerships. The Department of the Navy, in its role as DoD Executive Agent for Maritime Domain Awareness, will lead DoD coordination on maritime detection and tracking. Where possible, DoD will also collaborate with international partners to employ, acquire, share, or develop the means required to improve sensing, data collection and fusion, analysis, and information-sharing to enhance domain awareness appropriately in the Arctic. Monitoring regional activity and analyzing emerging trends are key to informing future investments in Arctic capabilities and ensuring they keep pace with increasing human activity in the region over time.”
There is a footnote on page ten of the document (page 12 of the pdf) that might provide a justification for DOD funding of icebreakers for the Coast Guard:
“11As expressed by Commander, U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM), Commander, U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM), and Commander, USNORTHCOM, in a May 2008 memorandum, the United States needs assured access to support U.S. national interests in the Arctic. Although this imperative could be met by regular U.S. Government ships in open water up to the marginal ice zone, only ice-capable ships provide assured sovereign presence throughout the region and throughout the year. Assured access in areas of pack ice could also be met by other means, including submarines and aircraft.”