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Coast Guard Proceedings. Volume 70, Number 2, Summer 2013

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The United States is an Arctic nation. So many Arctic-related papers, briefs, and presentations contain this phase, including a few of the articles published in this very edition. What does this mean, and why do so many of us use this phrase Well, it is because the United States is an Arctic nation Acknowledging this concept is foundational to gaining the needed acceptance within the United States that it is in our best interest to actively prepare and adapt to the Arctic s changing conditions, opportunities, and challenges. Although there are many definitions that describe the boundaries of the Arctic, the definition most frequently used within the federal government is found in the 1984 Arctic Research and Policy Act. Using this definition, which includes the waters north of the Aleutian Islands through the Bering Strait, it is clear that the United States has significant real estate within this frontier. The graphic in this edition, which transposes the great state of Alaska over the entire United States, illustrates how vast Alaska is compared to the rest of the country. Alaska is big. It is really big. It s more than twice the size of Texas. L ooking at the definition and this map, it is clear that we are not just an Arctic nation we are really an Arctic nation. The Coast Guard has a long history of operating within the Arctic region, dating back to the 1800s, when we were the Revenue Cutter Service. It was the Revenue Cutter Lincoln, during America s initial Alaska coast survey, which transported the American flag and U.S. delegation to Sitka, Alaska, for the October 1867 transfer of Alaska from Russia to the United States. During this four-month voyage, crewmembers conducted coastal reconnaissance, charting, supported science exploration, and then reported the findings to Congress.

Subject Categories:

  • Snow, Ice and Permafrost
  • Civil Defense
  • Naval Surface Warfare

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