U.S. Coast Guard Releases Arctic Strategic Outlook

U.S. Coast Guard

Published Apr 22, 2019 5:51 PM by The Maritime Executive

The U.S. Coast Guard has released its newest strategy to address its expanding role in polar regions.

Since the release of the Coast Guard Arctic Strategy in 2013, the resurgence of nation-state competition has coincided with dramatic changes in the physical environment of the Arctic. America’s two nearest-peer powers, Russia and China, have both declared the region a national priority and made corresponding investments in capability to expand their influence in the region. “Russia and China’s persistent challenges to the rules-based international order around the globe cause concern of similar infringement to the continued peaceful stability of the Arctic region,” states the Outlook. 

The report outlines how the U.S. Coast Guard aims to fill its current gaps in operational capabilities by investing in ice-breaking ships, such as the Polar Security Cutter, aviation assets, unmanned and/or autonomous systems, and personnel, all capable of operating in the austere and remote Arctic environment. Assets must be upgradable and interoperable, capable of an evolving portfolio of mission activities ranging from search and rescue to defense operations and marine scientific research support.

The U.S. Coast Guard must retool existing concepts of operation to maximize the impact of more capable assets, states the Outlook. It will also make integrated operations with joint service, interagency and allied partners a critical element of current and future strategic and operational plans. 

The U.S. Coast Guard aims to:
• Fill Gaps in the Coast Guard’s Arctic Operational Capability and Capacity
• Establish Persistent Awareness and Understanding of the Arctic Domain
• Close the Critical Communications Gap in the Arctic
• Strengthen Partnerships and Lead International Forums
• Counter Challenges to the International Rules-Based Order in the Maritime Domain
• Support Regional Resilience and Lead in Crisis Response
• Address Emerging Demands in the Maritime Law Enforcement Mission
• Advance and Modernize the Arctic Marine Transportation System

“We understand the significant investment required to secure the Arctic, and we appreciate and embrace the trust the American people have placed in the U.S. Coast Guard. We will remain vigilant in protecting our national interests in the Polar Regions,” said Admiral Karl L. Schultz, Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard.

The Outlook is available here.