Coast Guard Expanding Arctic Presence – Homeland Security Today

One of the final presidential policy directives issued by the Bush administration,  Homeland Security Presidential Directive 25 (HSPD- 25) , issued on January 9, 2009, declared that the “United States is an Arctic nation,” with varied and critical security interests in the Arctic region.

Since taking office the Obama administration and new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano have reiterated the call for deeper focus on the Arctic, citing in particular the global security implications of climate change in the region, which by melting summer sea ice is fast accelerating maritime activity and the flow of goods, oil, gas and other resources.

Last Thursday at a special “field hearing” held in Anchorage, Alaska by US Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, US Coast Guard Commandant Thad Allen, discussed how the Coast Guard was stepping up its Arctic Presence to address the challenges emerging in that fast changing region.

The Coast Guard, through the Department of Homeland Security and with the Departments of State and Defense must work to improve maritime domain awareness, preserve the global mobility of United States military and civilian vessels and aircraft, and project a sovereign United States maritime presence in the Arctic region, Admiral Allen said.