The Canadian Coast Guard Ship Louis S. St-Laurent makes an approach to the Coast Guard Cutter Healy in the Arctic Ocean Sept. 5, 2009. The two ships are taking part in a multi-year, multi-agency Arctic survey that will help define the Arctic continental shelf. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer Patrick Kelley.

[updated with Adm. Greenert comment] WASHINGTON: While the Navy pivots to the Pacific, the Coast Guard has got their northern flank: the once icebound but now rapidly opening waters of the Arctic Ocean, with its new opportunities for oil, gas, and trade through the fabled Northwest Passage. For the chronically underfunded and “oversubscribed” service, however, the… Keep reading →

If the US fails to innovate in its re-shaping of its forces in the Pacific, it cannot effectively play the crucial role which is essential to a strategy focused on our allies. Without innovation, the US cannot protect its interests in the Pacific, ranging from the Arctic to Australia, and will lose the significant economic benefits which presence and protection of our interests provide.

The protection of the US and its allies is valuable in and of itself. But it is inextricably intertwined with the economic viability of the United States in the Pacific and beyond. As the Commandant of the USMC, Gen. James Amos, has underscored: “From our allies’ perspective, virtual presence is actual absence.” Keep reading →

Energy security is a key element of national security. The missing piece of America’s energy security policy, in turn, is the glaring absence of a strategy to coordinate and secure the enormous energy resources of the Western hemisphere.

Today, America is over-dependent on the increasingly volatile Middle East, China is increasingly aggressive in its quest for energy sources worldwide, and Russia is exploiting its energy reserves not just economically but as an instrument of global power. Clearly it’s important to reduce demand through various domestic means and to increase supply from alternative sources. But for now and even the mid-term future, it is more realistic to generating energy now and in the mid-term via an effective national energy policy which relies on the Western Hemisphere. Keep reading →

In an exclusive interview in advance of Wednesday’s new US-Canadian agreement on Artic cooperation, Gen. Charles Jacoby – the Army four-star who leads both the US-Canadian NORAD and US Northern Command — spoke to AOL regulars Robbin Laird and Ed Timperlake about the national security aspects of US policy at the top of the world, where global climate change is creating new opportunities for trade, for energy exploration, and for conflict. What follows is Laird and Timperlake’s analysis and extensive excerpts from the interview.

For most Americans — to the extent they even think about the Arctic — the Far North is either an ecological preserve or a energy exploration zone, in either case with security and defense concerns distant considerations. But the Far North is changing fast, and the new reality is that managing security in the Arctic is a sine qua non for resource development, aviation, seaborne trade, and environmental protection. Keep reading →

This is the third in a series of commentaries defense consultant and author Robbin Laird, a member of the Breaking Defense Board of Contributors, is penning about how the U.S. can and should shape its forces to perform the Asia strategy pivot. As a key part of that, he’ll be looking closely at what he calls “several neglected aspects of a sustainable power projection force for the 21st century.” Think Alaska, for this one. The Editor.

At the center of the U.S. contribution to Pacific defense is the ability to provide strategic depth for our allies. Much of this depends on the contribution of Alaska. Keep reading →

What growing naval power has just ventured across the Arctic for the first time? colinclarkaol

LAS VEGAS: Getting America’s National Airspace System (NAS) ready for unmanned aircraft by 2015 will be hard going, but one good sign is that the FAA’s point man positively vibrates with enthusiasm.

“I actually volunteered for this job,” said James Williams, head of the FAA’s recently created Unmanned Air Systems Integration Office, right at the opening of his remarks to the conference of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, (AUVSI). “I’m very excited to be here and to be running this organization.” That said, he added, referring to the many mandates in the 2012 FAA reauthorization bill passed in February, “nobody mentioned that Congress was going to give me pages of instruction on how to do it.” Keep reading →