From U.S. Naval War College Public Affairs Office
NEWPORT, R.I. – Recognizing the maritime implications of the changing Arctic region, the U.S. Naval War College (NWC) in Newport, R.I., launched the Arctic Regional Studies Group (ASG), on July 26.
“The ASG was created with the goal of helping our students and the Navy to better understand, prepare for, and adapt to future operational and strategic challenges in the Arctic region,” said NWC’s provost, retired Ambassador Mary Ann Peters, in an announcement to the NWC community.
NWC faculty and students with expertise, experience, or interest in regional maritime affairs, and U.S. policy and military strategy in the Arctic region will collaborate to act as a catalyst and coordinator of research. Their efforts will serve the needs of the Navy, the Department of Defense, and other elements of the U.S. Government responsible for formulating policy, strategy, and planning related to the Arctic.
The National Strategy for the Arctic Region, released in May by the White House, reflects a growing recognition that the Arctic will increasingly become a strategic priority for the United States.
“Some projections suggest that the Arctic could be open for shipping during the summer months by as early as 2023,” said professor Walter Berbrick, who will serve as the group’s first director. “This will place new demands on the Navy to maintain presence and capabilities to operate in the austere Arctic environment.”
Faculty and interested resident students will explore topics such as the importance and applicability of U.S. accession to the U. N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, economic implications relating to U.S. national security, international and interagency opportunities for cooperation, and understanding the environmental challenges the Arctic poses for joint maritime operations.
“The ASG will provide the Chief of Naval Operations and fleet commanders with a consistent pool of talent and knowledge to leverage when thinking about future maritime strategy and force structure in the Arctic region,” said Rear Adm. Jon White, the Navy's senior oceanographer and director of Task Force Climate Change.
The group will also host visiting lecturers at NWC to provide educational opportunities for resident students and share additional insights with NWC faculty to incorporate into curriculum development. Periodic seminars will provide a venue for members to report on research in progress. Furthermore, the group will perform an important outreach and collaboration function for the college by facilitating faculty participation in major conferences and research activities in the Arctic region and in the United States.
“The Naval War College is often referred to as the Navy’s home of thought,” said Peters. “It’s important for our faculty and students to fully consider the implications that this emerging maritime landscape presents, and to provide relevant research and analysis to our Navy’s and nation’s current and future leaders as they engage in strategic planning for the Arctic in the years ahead.”