That’s the question a large group of contributors worked on to create the U.S. Navy’s Arctic Roadmap 2014-2030. The report represents many different disciplines within the Navy, as well as the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
The United States is an Arctic nation, reports the Navy, with over a thousand miles of Alaskan coastline above the Arctic Circle and tens of thousands of miles of sovereign waters in the Arctic Ocean. The loss of seasonal sea ice (though a somewhat controversial claim) in the Arctic is making the region more accessible to human enterprise. Increased shipping is already evident, oil and gas exploration is evolving, commercial tourism in the Arctic is increasing, and new fishing grounds are waiting to be exploited.
For the Navy, the Arctic Ocean is a unique and harsh operating environment. Just like every other ocean around the world, the Navy needs to have the capability to operate in the region when required by higher authority. That means having trained sailors with cold weather expertise; platforms, weapons, and sensors that can operate in the harsh Arctic environment; reliable high-bandwidth communications capabilities; and reliable logistics support for remote operations. The Arctic Roadmap is designed to provide a way ahead to achieve those ends.
Read the report at www.popularmilitary.com/2014/arcticroadmap.pdf