Global Maritime Strategy Initiatives

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 13 Dec 2007 15:00:00 GMT

The full committee will meet to receive testimony on global maritime strategy initiatives. In October the Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps released A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower.

  • Admiral Gary Roughead, USN, Chief of Naval Operations
  • Admiral Thad W. Allen, USCG, Commandant of the Coast Guard
  • General James T. Conway, USMC, Commandant of the Marine Corps
EE News:
The hearing comes amidst growing concern over climate change in the Arctic and its effect on national security and international relations, as new shipping routes open and the area becomes more accessible for oil and gas extraction.

The issue has not escaped the notice of the U.S. military. In mid-October, the Coast Guard announced plans for an operational base in Barrow, Alaska, to deal with increased shipping in the North Pole region.

Later that month, the Navy, Coast Guard and Marines released an updated national maritime strategy, which for the first time includes global warming – particularly its effects in the polar region – as a concern for the U.S. fleet.

It is that strategy that is at the center of Thursday’s House hearing.

“As we look at maritime strategy on a global basis, we can’t ignore the future of the Arctic, the implications of access to the Arctic, national security issues, environmental issues, energy issues associated with it,” Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thad Allen said in September at a Washington, D.C., conference on national security sponsored by the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis. “Where do we invest our money? How do we develop policies?”

Allen, one of three top military officials scheduled to testify at the hearing, also drew a link between climate change in the Arctic and U.S. participation in the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, a hot-button issue this fall on Capitol Hill.

The United States is the only major industrialized nation that has failed to ratify the 25-year-old agreement, which governs how countries manage their exclusive economic zones and seabed mineral rights, sets rules for navigating international waters, and addresses species protection and other environmental issues.

“The United States must ratify the Law of the Sea treaty,” Allen said. “We must become an international player. We must be at the table.”