Falling sea ice levels due to climate change and spike in Russian activity require strategic response in US, says department of defense
US president Donald Trump jokes it’s a hoax. His military top brass beg to differ.
An updated US military strategy for the Arctic says “diminishing ice levels” due to warming temperatures pose a series of security risks to the country.
Released this week at the request of Alaska senator Dan Sullivan, a Republican, the 16-page document says the US must boost investment in its military assets around the North Pole.
“Diminishing sea ice will give rise to new economic opportunities in the region while simultaneously increasing concerns about human safety and protection of a unique ecosystem that many indigenous communities rely on for subsistence,” reads the Arctic Strategy.
“The breaking up of sea ice also threatens existing detection and warning infrastructure by increasing the rate of coastal erosion.”
In stark contrast to claims Trump’s administration may axe funding to climate science programmes, the Pentagon report says weather and climate science is a matter of national security.
“Robust observations, remote sensing capabilities, and modeling of the space, air, sea surface, ice, and ocean environments that affect operations in the Arctic are key aspects of domain awareness and safe operations, particularly in a remote and harsh region,” it says.
Citing NASA’s findings that the Arctic is “warming more rapidly than the rest of the planet”, the report says planners must consider the safety of their teams when evaluating environmental risk.
Pentagon: Arctic Melt Requires Updated US Strategy