Coast Guard Completes Arctic Shield 2013
11/07/2013: Rear Adm. Thomas Ostebo discusses the completion of the Coast Guard’s Arctic Shield 2013 operations in Juneau, Alaska, Oct. 16, 2013.
Arctic Shield is a multi-faceted, measured approach to expanding the Coast Guard’s presence in the emerging Arctic.
Credit:U.S. Coast Guard District 17:10/16/13
Excerpts from USCG Release:
Arctic Shield focused on Western Alaska and the Bering Strait and consisted of a three-pronged approach of operations, outreach and an assessment of the Coast Guard’s capabilities in the Arctic. This regional operation aligns with the Coast Guard Arctic Strategy and its three key objectives: improving awareness, modernizing governance and broadening partnerships…..
Several Coast Guard cutters were deployed to the Arctic, including: the ice breakers Polar Star and Healy; the National Security Cutter Waeshe; the patrol boat Naushon; and the seagoing buoy tender SPAR. The crews aboard the various vessels conducted the Coast Guard’s statutory missions while providing an operational presence and command and control capability in an area where the Coast Guard lacks the permanent infrastructure of a coastal sector.
Coast Guard C-130 Hercules airplane crews were strategically positioned at Eielson Air Force Base in Fairbanks and a forward operating location with MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crews was established at the Alaska National Guard hangar in Kotzebue to conduct search and rescue, law enforcement, and maritime domain awareness flights…..
Arctic Shield capability assessments included the deployment of a vessel of opportunity skimming system aboard the cutter SPAR and a Canadian coast guard vessel. The training exercise reinforced crew familiarization with the equipment and built upon the Coast Guard’s international partnership with Canada.
The crew of the Healy conducted their science missions and partnered with the Coast Guard Research and Development Center to evaluate equipment. Personnel tested two small unmanned aircraft systems, an unmanned underwater vehicle, a remotely operated vehicle and a Helix skimmer equipped for oil recovery on ice. The crew of the Polar Star tested the overall readiness of the icebreaker.
The crew of the 110-foot patrol boat Naushon completed a historic patrol to the region and opened a broader range of assets for deployment to the increasingly busy Arctic.
“Deploying the patrol boat was a strategic move on our part,” said Ostebo. “We learned that a patrol boat is effective in the Arctic in the right season and with proper support and is a great force multiplier for us…..”
We look at the Arctic opening as one of the 4 key strategic drivers reshaping the baseline formation of a new 21st century strategy for the Pacific in our new book on the Pacific: