"In Rapidly Changing Arctic, U.S. Playing Game of Catch-Up"

"With Arctic sea ice thinning and shrinking rapidly in recent years, the U.S. military and scientific agencies are scrambling to cope with the looming prospect of a seasonally ice-free Arctic Ocean."

"At a meeting in Washington last week, top U.S. Arctic officials at the Coast Guard, Navy, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and other agencies acknowledged that the U.S. lags behind other nations in dealing with the rapidly changing Arctic environment. The agencies are facing serious deficiencies in the ability to map the sea floor and develop enforceable environmental policies, as well as construct onshore infrastructure that would be used for search and rescue and oil recovery operations. Currently, not a single Navy surface ship is even capable of navigating the ice-covered waters.

 There is also a big void in diplomacy, and how the U.S. will deal with other countries on issues involving the Arctic.

The U.S. has not ratified the United Nations agreement that irons out how countries make claims to offshore Arctic resources. That's despite the agreement having the overwhelming support of the military and both political parties."

Andrew Freedman reports for Climate Central July 21, 2013.

Source: Climate Central, 07/23/2013