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March 22, 2014

Navy Officials Brief King on Submarine Operations in the Arctic

U.S. Navy Ice Camp, NAUTILUS – U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) arrived in the Arctic this evening where he is touring U.S. Navy Ice Camp NAUTILUS and meeting with Navy officials who have briefed him on the Navy’s capabilities to operate in the warming Arctic environment.

“Global climate change is bringing huge changes to the Arctic environment, resulting in the loss of more and more ice with every passing day. And as the ice recedes, the implications for U.S. security, economic, and diplomatic interests compound,” Senator King said. “This further underscores to me the need for the United States to take immediate steps to combat global climate change.”

According to the U.S. Navy Arctic Roadmap 2014-2030, the Arctic is warming faster than the rest of the globe, with average temperatures in the region rising at almost twice the average rate as the rest of the world. In 2012, the increasing temperatures resulted in the Arctic ice melting to its smallest extent in recorded history. The receding ice has led to increased human activity in the area, including oil and gas exploration, commercial sea traffic, fishing, and tourism, among the countries bordering the Arctic Ocean. As a result, the United States Navy has committed to continuing to maintain its submarine capabilities in the region to advance U.S. national security interests.

“Addressing climate change must be a priority, but we also need to be pragmatic in facing the realities it presents today. The fact is that the Arctic is melting, which means largely unchartered and unclaimed waterways will open to new avenues of commerce and exploration, increasing the region’s strategic importance to the United States,” Senator King said. “With a significant part of the Alaskan coastline on the Arctic Ocean, the U.S. must be prepared to confront any challenges that may arise in the future, which is why this ICEX training is so critical.”

Following the tour and briefings, and as part of ICEX, King will observe the nuclear-powered Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS HAMPTON surface through the Arctic ice and will be aboard the Virginia-class nuclear powered fast attack submarine USS NEW MEXICO as it conducts under-ice testing in Arctic waters of its operational readiness as well as its combat, sonar, communications, and navigation systems.

U.S. Navy Ice Camp NAUTILUS is a temporary facility constructed in the Arctic Ocean by the Navy’s permanent Arctic Submarine Laboratory in support of ICEX, the Navy’s longstanding training exercises used to develop and hone submarine operational and warfighting capabilities within the Arctic environment. 


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