New strategy for projecting sovereignty in U.S. Coast Guard’s Arctic operations

New strategy for projecting sovereignty in U.S. Coast Guard’s Arctic operations
Polar class icebreaker USCGC Polar Star (WAGB-10). Wikipedia; public domain

[Ed. – About time.  U.S. and Canada have been laggard in emphasizing sovereignty in an area where Russia and even China — the latter with no territorial basis — have been asserting excessive economic interests.  China in particular appears to have militarizing the Arctic in view, beyond any justification for national security.  U.S. claims are among the smaller legitimate ones, but ours (like Canada’s; we have a friendly dispute or two) are just that: legitimate.  It appears this policy will strike the right tone, based on presence and capability, and not seeking to defend beyond entitlement.]

The Coast Guard’s new strategy for the Arctic calls for upgrading ships, aircraft and unmanned systems there, an effort to make sure the United States is “projecting sovereignty” into an increasingly contested region, the service’s top officer said.

Adm. Karl Schultz, the commandant of the Coast Guard, said in an interview that the shift is a “little bit different,” although existing Arctic efforts will continue.

“Before, it was a peaceful, safe, secure Arctic collaboration,” he said. “None of that goes away. We want the Arctic to be a peaceful place where we work to cross international lines here with partner nations that share interests in a transparent fashion. But I think if you’re looking around at what’s going on in the Arctic, I would say it’s maybe trending in a slightly different direction. This will pivot with a little more focus on projecting.”

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The 48-page document is being released amid concerns in Washington about actions by both China and Russia in the Arctic.

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