The US GAO recently released a new report, Maritime Infrastructure: Key Issues Related to Commercial Activity in the U.S. Arctic over the Next Decade. Based on interviews with industry representatives who are in the process of exploring the region’s commercial readiness, the report found “general challenges related to operating in the Arctic, such as geography, extreme weather, and hard-to-predict ice floes.” These challenges make commercial activity difficult, but they also impact search and rescue missions, research, Coast Guard patrols and general operability. The main recommendation from this report is to prioritize two near term, broad categories: ” information infrastructure, such as mapping and charting, and response services, such as search and rescue.”
The Alaska Dispatch covered the GAO report release, noting that the report uncovered “less than 1 percent of navigationally significant waters in the U.S. Arctic have been surveyed with modern technology.” This knowledge gap is clearly a national security issue. Senator Lisa Murkowski, from Alaska, had this to say:
I thank the GAO for identifying the enormous need we have for mapping and charting our nation’s Arctic waterways,” she said. “The shocking fact that we have surveyed less than 1 percent of our critical northern waters should be a wakeup call to decision makers that we must demonstrate vision and act now.
Surveying less than one percent of the Arctic waters is like being aware of only the very tip of the iceberg.
Defense News has just published an article co-written by CNA’s Sherri Goodman and The Center for Climate and Security’s Francesco Femia and Caitlin Werrell. The commentary seeks to answer the question: What does the appointment of Jens Stoltenberg as the next NATO Secretary General mean for NATO’s climate change mission?
While NATO certainly has its hands full with recent developments in and around Ukraine, it will have to be able to address multiple security risks on multiple fronts. Given that NATO has long recognized that climate change is a threat to security, addressing climate-related risks should not fall too far to the wayside. Stoltenberg has experience in taking firm stances on both traditional matters of national security during his tenure as Prime Minister of Norway, and on climate change as a UN Special Envoy.
With the strong support of key member states like the United States, Germany and the UK, who have also supported addressing the security risks of climate change, the next Secretary General of NATO could make substantial gains in preparing the alliance for these risks. But it won’t be easy.
For more on the opportunities and challenges that await NATO’s next Secretary General, read the full commentary here.
On the heels of the release of the Department of Defense’s Arctic Strategy, blessed by Defense Secretary Hagel with a climate-focused speech at the Halifax International Security Forum, and a directive from Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert following the “U.S. Navy Arctic Roadmap 2014-2030,” the Office of Naval Research (ONR) has announced ice-breaking news (pun intended) regarding “new efforts to determine the pace of change in what some are calling Earth’s final frontier.” (more…)
Happy Friday! There were a number of climate and security-related events over the past couple of weeks, some of which were recorded. Listed below are some that caught our eye, and might make for great weekend climate and security binge listening/watching! (more…)