The Arctic is critical to U.S. commercial and homeland security interests. In 2009, President Obama issued National Security Presidential Directive 66 / Homeland Security Presidential Directive 25, outlining the administration’s Arctic Region Policy. The U.S. Coast Guard, a component of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), plays a critical role in implementing this policy. Their mission includes securing international commerce, protecting the environment, defending America’s maritime borders, and saving those in peril at sea or on other navigable waterways.
“In the near future, the Coast Guard will face challenges posed by increased commercial shipping, resource exploration, and recreational activity in that part of the world,” says DHS program manager Theo Gemelas, who oversees two Centers of Excellence at the Department’s Science and Technology Directorate (S&T).