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February 23, 2015

At Carnegie Endowment, King Calls for U.S. Leadership in the Arctic

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This morning at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine), a member of the Senate Armed Services and Energy and Natural Resources Committees, called for greater United States leadership in the Arctic. Speaking at the Arctic Council Initiatives to Sustain Arctic Cooperation, King underscored the strategic importance of the Arctic and the need for expanded U.S. engagement and international cooperation in the region, particularly as U.S. assumes the two-year rotating chairmanship of the Arctic Council this April.

“The Arctic is changing with each passing day, presenting new challenges and new opportunities to U.S. security, economic, and diplomatic interests,” Senator King said. “Rather than turn a blind eye, we should lead in fostering cooperation and cultivating understanding among the many nations with interests in the region. But that leadership, that planning, that discussion about the future of the Arctic must start now. We can’t afford to wait.”

Senator King is a strong proponent of advancing U.S. leadership and U.S. interests in the Arctic. Last year, he visited the region and called for the U.S. to recalibrate its national security and economic strategies to better address the changing environment as well as the challenges and opportunities that come along with it. To that end, Senator King has also noted that the Arctic presents an “extraordinary opportunity to work collaboratively” with other nations.

Among other priorities, Senator King has called for the United States to:

  • Begin investing in infrastructure and other capabilities, such as icebreakers and search and rescue assets, which will be critical to supporting increased operations in the Arctic.
  • Accede to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and complete actions to file claims for the extended continental shelf
  • Appoint a United States Ambassador to the Arctic to ensure U.S. interests are appropriately represented in the Arctic Council

The Energy and Natural Resources Committee, of which Senator King is a member, will hold a hearing on the Arctic in the coming months to discuss the need for increased U.S. preparedness in the region. Senator King also recently applauded the Obama Administration for establishing an Arctic Steering Committee to coordinate the federal government’s efforts within the region and for appointing retired Admiral Robert Papp to serve as Special Representative to the Arctic.


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