Coast Guard's Strategy Considers Climate Change as New Risk

Global warming isn’t just wreaking havoc on the environment all around the world — it’s also forcing one branch of the U.S. military to consider how the Arctic’s receding ice introduces a new risk landscape in the once low-conflict area. 

The Coast Guard’s newest strategy addresses this new threat and highlights the service’s expanding role in the polar regions. The Arctic Strategic Outlook creates three lines of effort: enhancing capability to operate effectively in a dynamic arctic, bolstering the rules-based order, and innovating and adapting to promote resilience and prosperity.

The first effort requires the Coast Guard to invest in ice-breaking ships, aviation assets, autonomous systems, and personnel, among other priorities. The second pillar addresses the service’s need to fortify global partnerships and collaborations. The third area focuses on the Coast Guard’s working with partners and stakeholders to come up with innovative ways to deliver mission critical services to the Arctic.

“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,” Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz wrote in the plan’s executive summary. “We will remain vigilant in protecting our national interests in the polar regions to forestall the unchecked influence of competitors.”

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