Fleets, Oil, & Trade in a Melting Arctic

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Ian Johnson
Essay Abstract: 
Anthropogenic climate change had led to the most extreme warming in the Arctic due to Arctic amplification. As a result, there has been a dramatic decrease in sea ice cover, with the possibility of ice free summers a reality by the mid-century. This creates new global maritime routes. The United States does not have the Arctic capabilities to address the needs of the growing shipping industry. It does not have the infrastructure to extract resources in the region or respond to environmental disasters. It does not have the domain awareness to meet the future need of the military in the region. Over the coming decades, the United States must invest in the Arctic in order to take advantage of the economic opportunities that the area has to offer, while serving as a global leader to guard national security and promote cooperation. I begin by exploring the science behind sea ice melt followed by a policy analysis based upon interviews conducted with experts in the region.