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Office Of Naval Research Prepares for a Changing Arctic

120806-N-QI093-047On 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.”

According to ONR:

“ONR’s research into Arctic environmental conditions will focus on three major areas: sustained observation of the Arctic Ocean environment; better understanding frozen ocean processes; and developing computer models and prediction methods that look at how air, ice, ocean and waves will respond to climate change.”

This is a critical development as the U.S. Navy literally sits on the front lines of climate change impacts in the Arctic (and beyond). Drawn from the Navy’s announcement, below is a sampling of statements from the Navy’s leadership team regarding the new effort:

Admiral Jonathan Greenert, Chief of Naval Operations:

“The U.S. Navy recognizes that the opening of the Arctic Ocean has important national security implications as well as significant impacts on the U.S. Navy’s required future capabilities,” he noted in the U.S. Navy Arctic Roadmap 2014-2030. “Today, the observed changes in the Arctic Region climate and the reduced extent of summer sea ice reveal the potential for the Arctic Ocean to become a more viable route for international shipping over the coming decades.”

Rear Admiral Matthew Klunder, chief of naval research:

“A changing Arctic means significant new responsibilities and opportunities for the scientific and research communities, the nation and our allies…ONR researchers, working in one of the world’s most challenging environments, will give U.S. naval planners the essential data we need.”

Rear Admiral Jon White, Director of the Task Force Climate Change and Oceanographer of the Navy:

“ONR’s research focus is aligned with the Navy’s Arctic Roadmap Implementation Plan, and will help us better understand and predict an environment that will still continue to present significant challenges for surface and air operations,” said White. “While there is much preparation the Navy needs to do before it starts conducting routine operations in the Arctic, understanding the dynamic environment and the rate of change is a critical foundation for these future operations.”

The Center for Climate and Security applauds the U.S. Navy’s efforts to prepare for a changing Arctic.


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