As Russia increases its Arctic presence both militarily and commercially, the Coast Guard is clarifying its role as protector of U.S interests in the region.
“As the nation’s primary maritime presence in the polar regions, the Coast Guard … will continue to work with our allies and partners on the mutual goal of ensuring a safe, secure and cooperative Arctic,” Adm. Karl L. Schultz, the commandant, said in a letter accompanying the April release of the service’s Vision for the Arctic Region.
To fulfill its Arctic mission, the service identified several conditions:
· Enhanced capability. The Coast Guard needs to fill in gaps in operational capability and capacity, establish a “persistent awareness and understanding” of the region, and address long-standing communications issues.
· Assumption of a position of strength in regards to enforcing “rules-based order.”
· Stand ready to “innovate and adapt to promote resilience and prosperity.”
“As the region attracts increasing attention from both partner and competitor states, America’s economic and security interests will become even more closely tied to the Arctic,” the paper stated. “Each development is significant on its own, but in combination, these trends create a new risk landscape for the nation and the Coast Guard.”