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8th Symposium on the Impacts of an Ice-Diminishing Arctic on Naval and Maritime Operations


Jul. 17 – 18, 2019
8:00am – 6:00pm ET


Ronald Reagan Building Amphitheater, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20004
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On July 17 and 18, 2019, the US Arctic Research Commission, US National Ice Center, and Wilson Center’s Polar Institute hosted the 8th Biennial Symposium on the Impacts of an Ice-Diminishing Arctic on Naval and Maritime Operations (IDA). Speakers discussed a wide array of issues currently facing the Arctic region, including: marine transportation; federal, state, local, and international operations; security; scientific research; infrastructure and investments; policy implications in the region; and much more. Please click here for the program booklet, complete with the agenda, speaker bios, and other pertinent information.

To communicate the findings of and discussions at IDA, the co-hosts will curate a collection of materials: a topic-by-topic breakdown of videos of each panel and presentation; a series of in-depth interviews with select speakers and attendees, and; a proceedings document to summarize the symposium. A table of contents is listed below, with links to the panel videos, agenda, and pictures; the interviews and proceedings will be posted in due time. Interested parties will be able to navigate this collection to interact with IDA’s discussion and continually refer to the day’s findings. This webpage serves as the main nexus for these materials.

Table of Contents

Quotes from Speakers

Senator Angus King  (Maine)

“There’s no structure to deal with security issues [in the Arctic Council]. I think that’s something we really need to think and talk about. I understand that the Council is this entity that avoids those issues, and, therefore, is able to accomplish great things in a cooperative way. But if we don’t have somebody thinking and talking about ‘How do we resolve security conflicts?’ it seems to me that’s going to be a significant challenge going forward. Remember, the basic question is: How do we discover the Arctic without the Peloponnesian War? And I hope that we’re at a place in our progress in civilization that we can do that. But there’s no certainty on that issue. 

Senator Lisa Murkowski (Alaska)

“The Arctic today is not the Arctic of generations past.”

“I was part of a follow-on discussion [at the Arctic Council], and we were reminded by the Finnish minister, who said: ‘It’s not like we can really put a Do Not Disturb sign on the Arctic.’ We can’t do that. The investment is happening. The activity is already occurring. And so this is our reality. Whether you like it or not.”

Senator Dan Sullivan (Alaska)

“I would say certainly that in my 4 and a half years in the Senate, you can feel a shift where the people talking about the Arctic initially – I felt – were [Senator Lisa Murkowski], me, [Representative] Don Young - and that’s not the case anymore. You see members, Democrats, Republicans, Senate, House talking about this important area of the world, and important national interest of the United States, and that’s continuing, and that’s really, a really positive trend.”

Admiral Charles W. Ray, Vice Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard

“We’ve talked about the energy perspectives in the Arctic, and the challenges that associate with increased access by tourism and by cruise ships…and we are certainly leaning into those. But we also see other nations seeking to shape the security environment to their own advantage. That’s the nature of nations of the world. They seek their own interest. Certainly Russia and China…have demonstrated a tendency to be more aggressive in promoting their national interests there. And, therefore, our work and our presence there is all the more important.”   

Deputy Secretary Dan Brouillette, U.S. Department of Energy

“To help address this high cost of electricity in Alaska, DOE has worked with Alaskans to deploy renewables through grants provided by the DOE’s Office of Indian Energy, and through R & D projects that translate discovery into real-world impact – and very specifically. We are collaborating with communities in the Arctic to understand how micro-grids can become platforms for integrated energy systems, bringing together renewable sources with energy storage to decrease energy costs and emissions as well.”

Wayne Westlake, President & CEO, NANA Regional Corporation

“With our experience in the Arctic from an industrial development standpoint…we feel we are a significant partner in working with the rest of the country and the rest of the world when it comes to the Arctic.”

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Hosted By

Polar Institute

Since its inception in 2017, the Polar Institute has become a premier forum for discussion and policy analysis of Arctic and Antarctic issues, and is known in Washington, DC and elsewhere as the Arctic Public Square. The Institute holistically studies the central policy issues facing these regions—with an emphasis on Arctic governance, climate change, economic development, scientific research, security, and Indigenous communities—and communicates trusted analysis to policymakers and other stakeholders.  Read more

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