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tv   Senate Hearing on U.S. Coast Guard Arctic Strategy  CSPAN  December 8, 2020 3:13pm-5:04pm EST

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i received 12 million more which, by the way, is a record. 12 million more and they say that when the numbers came out and the numbers came through machines and all of those ballots were taken away and added all you have to do is turn on your local television set and you will see what happened with thousands of ballots coming out from under tables, with all of the terrible things you saw. all you have to do is take a look and if somebody has the courage, i know who the next administration will be and i'll tell you what, life will be much easier for this country because of what we've done right now and because of a lot of the people in this room, the job you've done on the vaccine, together with a lot of others has been a modern-day miracle and it's really been acknowledged as much and i want to thank you. i want to give you my love and my thanks because you're very special people and now, good luck. you distribute that, general, and really set records, okay? set records just like we've been doing for four years.
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thank you very much. thank you, everybody. thank you. [ applause ] >> and live now to a hearing looking at the coast guard's arctic policy. we join this in progress. [ applause ] >> we have -- i'm sorry, sir. go ahead. >> you mentioned the frost is melting half of the world's permafrost is expected to vanish by the end of this century, but i noticed in your written testimony, as miral, that it does not include the words climate change. do you believe the coast guard should be planning for human caused climate change? >> mr. ranking member, the coast guard has been consistent in that we are really agnostic as
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to the cause, but we are planning and paying attention to science up north in the country, up north in regards to what you've already discussed and there's water where there used to be ice and the multi-year ice has receded. if you look at the planet from the north pole aspect, you can see greater expanses of water that remain over the course of time. we've seen this year in the hurricane season in the gulf coast when we've had more named storms since we began naming storms. we pay attention to the forecast and the scientific analysis, but as i said, that's what we look at and what we build to as we're planning our operations. >> i understand what you are saying, but you can't be an agnostic when it comes to climate change. it's what's causing the hurricanes and what's causing the melting of the permafrost. it's what's driving all of these
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changes that we're seeing, and if i may, admiral, do you think the coast guard needs to integrate climate resiliency into the construction of new facilities in the arctic? >> absolutely, senator. >> and so, i just want to make sure that i make it clear they thank you for your service, admiral. i think you are really doing an excellent job and i look forward to working with you. >> senator scott? >> first, i want to thank chairman sullivan for his commitment to the coast guard and for his commitment securing the arctic and all of the things he's taught about icebreakers in the last two years. >> thank you. >> i had no idea the importance of ice breakers until i got this job two years ago. >> being the senator from
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florida, we're okay with that. >> but i have help with chelsea who will eventually be a great coast guard admiral. the united states ice week has remained stagnant for decades. as we know, russia and communist china continue to advance policies and dedicate more resources to capitalizing on the issues of the arctic. china's growing influence around the world creates a clear and present danger to the stability of the world markets and the stability of the united states and allies and the quest for freedom and democracy around the globe. we must do everything we can so our men and women to fate against the growing threat and keep the families safe. we were shut down and he was a big advocate of making sure the coast guard started getting paid. so, admiral wray, the coast guard plays a crucial wroel in
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protecting our security in domestic and international waterways. can you talk about what you think to remain competitive in commercial and defense activities in the arctic and how we can improve the coordination between the coast guard and the department and defense as we work to combat what china and russia are trying to do in the arctic. >> thank you, senator scott, for the question. >> with regard to resources that we need to improve readiness and the readiness piece that our commandant has repeatedly talked about testimony and in various other forra. it's pretty straightforward. we've had good success with getting the funds to purchase new asset. where we have fallen behind is to maintain the assets and operate them, whereas the
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department of defense when they're ready to address their readiness a couple of years ago under this administration, they realized that by the 12% increase in the ons funding and we've about flatlined and that's a challenge. that's one thing that we need. as i've said before, some of the assets that i'm using up here, the point security, and we are also the senators of the chairman asked me last time i testified about our communications capability and we made progress there, and it will require investments in satellite capability to communicate and operate up north. i can go through a list of assets and sir, i will be ready to provide a more wholesome briefing and primarily our readiness has to be deputy done with current assets. >> with regard, in answering our engagement and i think we're
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about lashed out in particular with dod as we've had in our livo tie. we have an office with the navy and we have equal rows of that on that commit and i it's been a tremendous help. i'm convinced that the ability to award that contract of april of '19 was aided with our cooperation with the navy and our experience with that. >> is your budget tied to the fact that your budget is separate? your budget comes up through commerce, right? and so you're not part of the dod budget. do you think that's the reason why it's happening? >> we are a part of the department of homeland security, and so we fall under that regime of budget distribution, if you will. and i am -- we think the coast guard is well positioned in the department of homeland security. we have many missions that work
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for that. we are a military service at all times and we have title 14 authority which gives us law enforcement authority and a member of the intelligence community. we think we prosper there and when it comes to the readiness funds that are provided to the coast guard via the department. that's where i think we can use some support. >> thank you. >> thank you, senator scott, and just -- i want to ask this very quickly and get to senator blumenthal. if my opening remarks it looks like successfully, like senator blumenthal that we are pairing the authrisation act with the ndaa and that brings synergies to the dod and -- i shouldn't say dod. coast guard and other operations. i assume you support that. >> absolutely. we appreciate your efforts to
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make that happen. >> i think we're making a precedent this year and hopefully in a bipartisan way we can make that happen every year because i think it helps the coast guard and the other services. senator blumenthal? >> thanks, senator sullivan, and i would just second with a great big exclamation point the fact that this pairing is not only profoundly significant and it is also bipartisan and i hope that we can continue to work together that we have started because the coast guard deserves that reliable and well-merited treatment in terms of authorization and appropriation and we are very proud in connecticut to be the home of the academy. the coast guard has a long and stored history in kkt cu connecticut and we regard it as one of our own and very, very grateful for the role that the coast guard is playing in
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advancing our economic interest in the arctic. i think thank the chairman for making that topic the focal point of today's hearing. i want to raise an issue probably somewhat painful to both of us and i know that it's not within the direct purview of this hearing. so if you want to respond in writing as well as orally now, i certainly would welcome it, but recently as this morning i have contacted by office by whistle blowers from the academy complaining about some of the racial tension and potential slurs and other kinds of abuses that are deeply troubling. these instances have been disturbing to us in connecticut for a long time to our delegation and representative joe courtney and i have heard
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them for a while and i know you're familiar with them. the dune report from the homeland security office of inspector general on racism at the academy found that the guard has failed to thoroughly investigate racial harassment allegations including the use of racial slurs and failed to discipline cadets who were found guilty of that behavior. the specific incidents included in the report have no place in society much less in the military or the training institutions like the great coast guard academy that we are proud to host in connecticut. hate speech and race-based harassment by cadets at the academy have gone largely underreported because of the stigma and shame attached and
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sometimes they've been ignored. these experiences don't stay and they affect the entire coast guard. as you well know, a little bit like a virus and racial hatred and tension spreads. it's a contagion that i know the coast guard leadership is committed to stop. so i just want to ask you what you can tell me to update us as to what the coast guard is doing about this very important topic and what you're doing to monitor it, counter it and i raised this topic certainly not cheerfully, but i think necessarily because i know, admiral wray, you are certainly committed to stop this kind of racial slurs or any other kind of abuse and i just want to give you the opportunity to respond. >> thank you for the question, senator. we do absolutely take this to
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heart and the report of the inspector general as well as the ship report from 19 -- or excuse me, from 2019. we lay into those and in the course of the last year we recommendation, direction that was provided in those two reports and we've addressed and reconciled them in policy and procedure. more importantly, i think, what we've done with no, sir is go in not just fixing our manuals and our policy. we've created tools to put in the hands of our commanders and i'm not just talking about the coast guard academy and i'm talking across the service. so they know how to conduct an investigation and how to report up and track harassments. a lot of times these things start with harassments and they turn into something bigger and we put tools in the hands to our commanders that will -- that we will use those and spread across the service so they can take
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action against these incidents and take it very seriously, sir, and thank you for bringing it. >> have you heard recent reports of these kinds of racial incidents or slurs continuing? >> i have not heard of recent reports from the coast guard academy? no, sir. >> since the june report have you heard any or what steps have you taken? >> not any since the report at the coast guard academy. i'll double-check about twith t, but i get a directorate every month of things that happen of this nature and i'm pretty sure i would have heard if maybe i'd not been informed and i'll double check. >> if you could double-check, i would appreciate it and i would also be interested to know because my time is expired and maybe you can respond in writing what kind of comprehensive steps have changed the culture and to
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instill in the cadets the idea that there's zero tolerance for this kind of abuse? >> we will respond in writing, no question, sir. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator blumenthal. >> thank you, mr. chairman and to my colleague, as well. so appreciative of you being here today, and kind of a historic day in the sense that the house is taking up the ndaa ask passing the legislation with the coast go, that is a very bipartisan effort to also fund those ice breakers visit we've had in the past and so i want to ask you specifically about the mission moving forward admiral ray, will the coast guard continue to have ice breakers and repurpose on the ability to repurpose the climate science
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aspect of the arctic mission? >> so with regards to your first question, ma'am, senator, and i know you're aware. we've talked about three heavies and three medium ice breakers and so we're in the precursor stages for the medium ice breaker at this point. by the plans we have now that would be the next of lugevoluti the icebreaker fleet. we are re-evaluating the pleat m fleet mix and we'll continue to look at that and evaluate that, mix and we'll continue to look at that and evaluate that, and so our real focus, and i was in mississippi last month with our mission support commander and our deputy commandant for operations meeting face to face with the leadership of the shipyard that's conducting the first security cutter and just to let them know how important
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it was to us and to our nation and they get it, and they're moving out on that. in regards to the second part of your question, senator, i'm not sure i caught that. >> we want to make sure that -- i mean, obviously it is an evolving mission and the work that the healy does science capabilities that we don't want to get lost in this and we want to continue the science capabilities and i want to make sure we're getting a workforce. currently, you are short 400 prevention personnel and we feel that the arctic is an important prevention mission and we're discussing here what kind of resources that you need and what we need to do to keep the science mission and to have a workforce. >> senator, thank you for recognizing that prevention force and it often goes in unheralded and it is so important as we were talking with the senator and the chairman earlier. our folks and in anchorage, they
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traveled all over alaska to finish up and ended up completing 92% of the inspection, petroleum storage facilities so bad things don't happen. so thank you for your support of that workforce. >> so what do we need to do to train and skill more people? >> we are completing a study because the way we were training our prevention officers is something we've been doing the same way for year and and we have different ways to take it, and just in time tlan them to do the missions they need. >> whether it's deep water, offshore dealing in the gulf of mexico, and so the support, and it comes to the funding, it's op ragds and up srt ort funding and so our people are on the right
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footing to do the regulatory role they need to protect our natural resources. >> whatever we can do to be helpful on that want. we want a center of excellence and people trained and skilled in the arctic. there is no difference between senator sullivan and i and many of our colleagues on these issue, so thank you. i'm just taking that you do agree that the science admission of the ice breaker fleet should continue? >> absolutely, ma'am. it's an important part of the mission and has been for many years. >> thank you. >> thank you, senator cantwell. admiral i'll ask a few follow-up questions and senator markey and there might be one or two additional senators who might want to participate and come down to the hearing room. so let me ask you, i highlighted it briefly in my opening statement, but the august 26th incident that we had with this
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massive, russian military exercise that went into the united states. i know that you, the coast guard, district 17 in juneau, the headquarters are often made aware of these kind of exercises to coordinate with northern command and coordinate with the u.s. navy. i've raised this with the secretary of the navy and with the northcom commander. what do you think happened that we can improve on to make sure something like that doesn't happen again. first of all, our fishermen, in my view should never be essentially forced out of the american eez when they're legally fishing and yet that did happen because the russians were being quite forceful. secondly, there seemed to be somewhat of a lack of information flow, and i'm sure,
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and i know because i've requested it and after action to make sure that we improve upon that particularly as it relates to our fishermen, whether they're based in seattle or based in alaska and a huge part of my state's economy and these are great, hardworking patriotic americans and can you just comment on that and how we avoid that from happening again and what steps we can take and i know you are coordinating with northcom and u.s. navy on this. >> that's a multi-part question and i'll try to answer it in the same way. first of all, as i described the activity with executing that exercise and there is a degree that needs to be addressed and talked to, and we've sent written correspondence and we have a attache and we have a relationship with the russian
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border guard that serves as a red phone-type relationship so we're working that. with that said, this was not our best day with regards to doing our role to look at american fishermen. the u.s. coast guard. i'll be quite frank in that we own some of this other than there are over 4,000 of the hydropacs and it is a form of mess taj that would describe the chart there and we have a duty to pay attention to that, and we've looked at the ways we communicate that with the fishing fleet and we did not do that that day. there are ways we could receive it on satellite phones and satellite receivers and other types. however there, is a way to transmit it to make a pointed effort. what we will do from hopefully prevent this from happening
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again, we have etsy, fish, processing group that we represent in the next panel to understand how we can communicate to the fleet so they not with these things, and we are dedicated to do a better job and this is not a one and done thing, this is an effort on behalf of the u.s. coast guard to keep that fleet informed. >> we were talking about what the coast guard needs in terms of its presence and its ability to do its job in the arctic and one of which is infrastructure. as i mentioned, the port of anchorage, dutch harbor, and these are about a good thousand miles and 1200 miles away from the arctic circle. so alaska is a big state and just because you're in alaska doesn't mean at all that you're close the action and there is a
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coast guard place in florida protecting rhode island or maine. infrastructure is critical. we have made significant progress here on the deep water draft port for the port of nome, which is in the geographic sense, able to protect the interest of the yard. >> you emphatically stated the need for those ports and infrastructure and the ports committee and the ports in harborville has a significant authorization for deep water port that can handle breakers and fast-response cutters and even destroyers from the u.s. navy. what's your sense of that? i believe we need a vision for a series of strategic arctic ports the way russia does.
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can you comment on that a little bit and how important that is for the coast guard? >> senator, i will. i first want to thank you for the infrastructure you've provided already. as you know, about 10% of the coast guard's infrastructure is in alaska. >> we'll continue to provide that as you need it. yes, sir, i specifically with regards to kodiak because that's our stepping off point at present with regard to the operations in the gulf of alaska and the aleutians up north and forther bering and further north. if there was a deep water port north of dutch as you discussed we would certainly take advantage of it and it would be of benefit to the kwoecoast gua. >> let me ask one final -- or i'll just make one more point on the leasing and the -- if we were to do kind of a leasing with regard to medium ice breakers and again, i think as a
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bridge with some of the polar class ice breakers, home porting those in alaska would make immediate sense and i know the coast guard has talked about seattle for some of the polar class ones and building on what's already there makes sense, and as you know there will be a lot more than two or three from what we're working on, and so i want to make that a statement from the chairman's position here on the importance of that. what else do you need the coast guard needs from this committee? as i mentioned, we're already working on that a linemelignmen just like the ndaa and it makes total sense and they need a reauthorization act just like the military does. is there anything you need from this, that dry coast kaurd.
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>> i think we discussed two or three times here and the realization that the coast guard needs that congress has been so good at providing us and we need those moving forward because that is what makes us go and will make us be the coast guard we need to be. i would be remiss and our coasties would be disappointed in me. they still remember that shutdown, that partial shutdown of 2019 and how that affected them, viscerally affected them and their families and so i would just ask for your continued support, direct to find that so the coasties never have to -- if any military members are getting paid, they need to be getting paid. >> i agree 100% with the last comment. as you know, some of us worked day and night to make sure that wouldn't happen, didn't happen,
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got cured quickly when it did happen and it is my goal as chairman of this committee to make sure something like that never, ever, happens again. it was an outrage and the coast guard members and the family members and trust me, i did a few town halls in alaska and they were a prep atly really pissed and they should have been and we need to make sure? i si this senator, cruz, the floor is yours. >> thank you, mr. chairman and thank you also for convening this hearing and for the leadership on this issue. chairman sullivan is the leading champion for the coast guard in the u.s. senate and also the leading champion for america leading in the arctic and i am grateful for your leadership in both regards. >> i appreciate you, thank you. >> i will note, admiral the question you raised about the shutdown and that shutdown in 2019 was unfortunate and
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sullivan and i together teamed up on legislation to pay the men and women of the coast guard, and took to the senate floor trying to get the senate to adopt it. unfortunately, a democratic senator raised an objection and held the men and women of the coast guard hostage to that, and so i'm hopeful we don't see a reprise of that in the days and weeks to come. the arctic circle has strategic interest for the united states and i want to thank you for your leadership and working to protect america's interests. i've said for a long time that china is an adversary who would benefit from an american retreat. all across the globe president xi and the chinese communist party are investing heavily in the military as is russia. in your assessment today, who is the dominant power in the arctic circle?
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>> senator, thanks for the question, from the analysis we've done, obviously, if you look at the planet from the north down, looking down at the north pole and you can see the expensive shoreline that russia has. you know that they're a force to be reckoned with just because of geography. they've got the geography and the natural resources there. in the near-term, i think russia is certainly the nation that we should be paying close attention to, but we cannot ever take the eyes off the ball with china. i think the behavior they're displaying in the polar regions and not just the arctic, and over by greenland, as well. they are displaying similar activity and following an analysis that i've done and this is all on class, with regard that they're following the playbook they follow in the south china sea and everybowher
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else and they'll work in the name of science and the next thing you know they're move are to forward in your agenda. >> what would be the effect to the states if we were able to accede, and it's the shore of the united states and the approach of the united states although it is not as accessible or the gulf of mexico or the pacific coast or name your coast, but it's the same sovereignty rules and the same, we have the duty and we and the coast guard and we have the duty to protect it. 30 years ago when i was a young officer in the service, nobody talked about it, but now there's access tlup that doesn't exist. >> traffic increased 500 -- but
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it is growing and the access is out there. so i would say we we should be able to exert our sovereignty, provide resources for those who are equal tourists or also the folks out there and i'm speaking for the coast guard speaking for them as well as any other state in our country. >> you said in your opening statement that state actors as well as non-state actors are seeking to advance their own interests in the arctic. what did you mean by non-state actors? >> well, the potential for ieu fishing will exist up there. that's coming. when we were in nome the summer before last we had a noaa. >> hypothetically, if there was
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a senator that didn't know that acronym. that is unrelated fishing and it is one of the scourges of the planet, and i would say from the maritime perspective, iuu fishing whether it's happening in the south pacific or whether it's happening in the bahamas or pick a place, off the coast of africa or off the coast of somalia, that is one of the most widespread, degradation of resources that the planet knows and it has a fix, and so what the senator and i saw last year when we were in nome, there were really bright scientists and she explained and she drew out a map for us in the gravel of the parking lot of the harbor at nome and she explained to us because pollack is the most substantive american fishery. we could get into arguments there from other parts of the country and that is from the bering sea and they're moving
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north up to the arctic and there is a 16-year moratorium who everyone grays has the capability to the feet and they would reduce if we them let them upon. >> what sources would they need to have -- the same assets that are provided right now and tobacco able to pld out thatty is issue -- the end is to get coast guard cutters with coast guardsmen on scene to where people need a rescue or arrest, and we do both of those. those are the resources we need and then the aircraft and the communications capability to go with them, but in the short term as i was telling the committee earlier, i think the operations and sustainment funds are really
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the long bull in the tent for our service right now. >> thank you, admiral. as a closing observation i would say i was up this sumnmer with senator, and to stay utterly agnostic on the malicious lie that the senator persists in repeating which means that alaska is larger than texas and i can tell you we texans don't believe the lying maps that are put out and my advice is to stay out of that particular squabble. >> just for your information, not only is it but if you split alaska in half, texas would be the third largest state in the country and i don't think the map makers are lying, but i am glad you were up there and admiral, you are very popular. there was another senator who was up in alaska, as well. senator lee who joins us and i'm sure he has questions. >> utah is bigger than both states and i feel quite intimidated and i'm not going to
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get into this dispute, never realizing that it was up to debate whether texas is bigger than alaska. >> it is not up for debate. >> admiral, thanks for being here and for all that you do. the mission of the coast guard is absolute essential to who we are and our ability to live our lives like we do. in your testimony you note of the ability to lead in the arctic hinges on physical presence in the region so that we can defend our homeland and safeguard our own security interest and you know this is important for us and we ought to stick to that and this means that we need assured, year-round access to the polar regions. the coast guard has noted that it needs six polar security cutters. these pscs for their missions. my understanding is that the
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coast guard and navy's first contract award for a psc anticipates construction beginning some time next year. some time in 2021, is that right? and then delivery of a vessel by 2024, meaning that we may not have vessels to fully replace ouinice eakers for five years, give or take, possibly a little bit more, is that right? >> that's accurate, senator. how does this timeline harm the coast guard's readiness and its ability to carry out its popular missions? >> well, it's -- this timeline is -- it's really at this point unavoidable. we have cutters that are over 40 years old. the oldest one, the one that we talk about the most, it's an interesting -- a sense of
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urgency has been on the coast guard for several years now and i'm thankful that the result of the leadership here in this subcommittee and the support of the administration, we're moving forward with recapitalizing. >> federal law prohibits the use of foreign contractors, foreign shipyards for the construction of coast guard vessels or major components of coast guard vessels. it's no secret that finland has boasted that they could build an ice breaker within two years and they could do it for less than $300 million. undoubtedly, we need -- for the reasons that you've stated, quite persuasively, we need to compete with china and russia in this region in particular. in order to accelerate our
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acquisition based on our needs for the acquisition, do you think congress ought to consider in a limited manner revisiting the general prohibition on foreign shipbuilding? in other words, would or could granting some limited flexibility to our nato partners and friendly arctic nations to help -- is that something that could help the coast guard acquire the flexibility that it needs to get these vessels up and running so we can establish this presence that we need in the arctic? >> senator, first of all, as i'm sure it's no surprise to you, we're huge fans and supporters of the american industrial base in the shipyards along the coast and that. with that said, i think the bridging strategy that makes the most sense to the coast guard at this point is this potential to lease one of these ice breakers.
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it would need to be -- and we -- it would have to be u.s. flagged to be able to have the authority that we use it for. from the perspective we've done is trying to bridge to close this gap that we found ourselves in. that makes more sense to me. >> just to be clear, there would be no security threats associated with -- security issues that would attend -- if we were to lift this restriction such that we could acquire a vessel in a different way than current law allows, are there any security issues that would preclude us frrom contracting someone operating within a nato power or within another friendly nation, friendly arctic nation, perhaps, to help us meet our shipbuilding needs. would that present any security threat?
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>> certainly, it depends on which one you're talking about. not all created equal. but of the arctic nations that i'm familiar with, that i've dealt with, security of the ones that are our allies would not be the first concern i would have. >> they would not be the first concern you would have. would they be a concern at all? is that a concern to have purchased that from finland, for example? >> is security a concern for -- >> yeah. >> not to my knowledge, sir. >> okay. thank you very much. i see my time's expired. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator lee. one final questions. it relates to what senator lee was asking about. he raises a good point about this huge gap in capability in coverage for protecting american sovereignty. isn't that one of the reasons the president put the memo out on the issue if you're not going to build which creates some legal challenges at least right now under current law, to lease,
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and that's what we're looking at doing right now, leasing potential medium ice breakers from finland is one option, correct? >> there have been several different vessels alluded to. >> but to at least bridge that gap until we can build our own. >> that is the general strategy that we've been exploring in -- as a result of the president's memo. >> do you think that makes sense? >> i think you would agree it does, sir. one thing i want to state, these vessels, i've been around them, various commercial ice breakers, if you will, and they're not to military design with regards to communications, with regards to damage control, with regards to compartmentalization. if we get in some sort of -- we have some sort of accident because the nature of the work
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that we do, so they're a different cat. we would have to do some workso required to make these, but with that said, it is the commandant's position and our position that we will consider this and work to see what makes sense to bridge this gap. >> great. >> if i understand the point that's being made, and i think senator sullivan raises an excellent point, in order to bridge the gap, perhaps we could lease something, if we could lease, for example, a vessel that's been built in finland, that would suggest our security needs are met by that vessel. they're not compromised by that. and if the only reason why we're not securing that vessel from finland is because u.s. law prevents it, even though we could potentially do it for a
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fraction of the cost and get it in less than half of the time, i would suggest that that's a question for us to consider as a congress. why is it that for the sake of huing to the status quo of what u.s. law requires, if there's no security implication from doing so, why would we need to limit ourselves to leasing rather than buying with regard to a finish built ice breaker? that's the question i've got for you. >> sir, i think it's in the national interest to preserve our industrial base, shipbuilding base. history has proven that. that's what won us world war ii largely. and so i think to outsource the building of new ships for the use of our military, that would be something we would have to consider long and hard. my starting position is that we need to protect this industrial
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base which is declining along the gulf coast and other places. and so that's -- and that's where i stand on that. >> and i completely agree. that's a legitimate interest, to maintain our industrial base so we can have access to those things. when our own industrial base can't do things in the same way that others could do, especially with an ally-friendly arctic nation, i think that's a good reason for us to ask ourselves the question of whether we ought to revisit some aspects. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator lee. admiral, i want to thank you again for the outstanding work you've been doing for the coast guard. so many issues beyond just the arctic. appreciate very much your testimony, for this panel, the record will remain open for two weeks and if there's additional questions for -- from senators for the record, we ask you and your team to try to get back to
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those as soon as you can. but for now, sir, we are going to move on to our next panel and i want to thank you again for your outstanding testimony today and your exceptional service to our nation. please pass onto the men and women of the coast guard that we've got their back and we're going to try to make sure that we take care of them and give them the assets and training that they need to protect our nation and do it in a way that makes all of us proud. >> thank you very much for the opportunity, mr. chairman. we really do appreciate your support. >> absolutely. we're now going to turn to our next panel. we have three witnesses that i mentioned earlier. they're all testifying remotely. so hopefully this is going to work easily. we have major general randy kee,
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ms. stephanie madsen, and dr. jennifer francis. >> good afternoon, mr. chairman, ranking member and distinguished members of the subcommittee in washington, d.c. it's an honor to discuss the art ti arctic capabilities. i've been privileged to serve as the arctic domain awareness center. i'm also a u.s. arctic research commissioner. the following reflections are mine alone and do not represent the views of the organizations to which i'm assigned or affiliated. please know, i've spent time listening and learning from alaska's indigenous communities. getting insights from people has been a part of the arctic since time began.
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military cooperation and government related activities are the envy of many across the globe. continuing arctic exceptionalism is by no means assured and u.s. investments of science, economics to ensure american security and sovereignty should top u.s. priorities. the opportunities of an opening arctic are incentive for nations to pursue easier access to harvest marine life, conduct maritime transport, advance tourism and project sovereignty influence. the environment is enabling rising competition between national powers. the russian federation bases built additional and is capable of projecting power to and th w through the arctic. russia can project surface forces simultaneously. national decision-making and planning are opaque at best and
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the advantage should be met with resolve and strength as america cannot be perceived as weak. the russian navy's actions are unacceptable. harassing alaskan vessels should not go unanswered and should not happen again. it is important to note russia is an arctic nation who share a critical water way with the united states. it's in both nation's interests to prevent conflict in the sea. conversely, the people's republic of china advances influence through its economic power to gain access across the arctic. china is normalizing an arctic presence and advancing mines interests. it's not inconceivable china may conduct measures closer to the u.s. arctic maritime easy, based
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on china's track record. it's in our interest to decouple joint approaches between china and russia. guided by realizing there are a number of common arctic interests between moscow and washington, d.c. i do believe that great power competition need not become great power confrontation. against the backdrop of one of the most strategically challenging theaters in the planet, the u.s. coast guard making the challenging look easy. as a career military pilot with 30 years of service, it includes operating the arctic, let me assure you, what they do in the arctic is demanding, expert skills and a matchless fidelity to duty. this coast guard needs to project power in the waters. the authorization of six and
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appropriation of one polar security cutter was a critical gain and hopefully new funding for more cutters will be coming soon as capacity is well below what is needed. they need an ability to defend, communicate and ascertain the domain. the summer's mishap highlights the challenges in the region. there should be consideration developing or enhancing and serve an expeditionary function providing affordable levels of repair, and possibility provide an important third option or a return to home port in seattle. it should be located robust -- colocated with having housing, schools, and logistics. i wish such facilities already existed in alaska's arctic and
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advocate for long term commitment. as a former military programmer, i'm guided by the efforts to create ramps. one point i emphasize is increasing assignments at or near the baring strait. north to future is as relevant as ever. i believe the importance of the arctic will continue to rise. thank you for the opportunity to provide these reit looflections. i look forward to addressing your questions. >> thank you, general. ms. madsen. >> thank you, mr. chairman. chairman sullivan, ranking member markey, members of it have subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to testify.
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my name is stephanie madsen. i'm the director of the at sea processor's association. this part of the arctic includes some of the most productive fishing grounds on earth. it is a truly remarkable place with its rich native culture, productive marine ecosystem and vital geopolitical positioning adjacent to the boundary. the u.s. fishing industry has been able to operate in the sea safely. that sense of security was shattering during the last week of august when russian military warships and warplanes initiated a series of outrageous confrontations. these confrontations unprecedented in my almost 40 years working with this industry, gave rise to general fears for the physical safety of
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fishing captains and their crews and cost the effective companies millions of dollars in lost fishing opportunities. in the first such incident, they were harassed by members of the russian military over the course of five hours. a russian warplane flew over head for two hours. those threats later escalated via transmissions from a nearby russian warship until they reached such a fevered pitch, the captain felt he had no choice but to protect the safety of his crew by complying with russian military orders. he sailed five hours south and not return until september 4th. in the second such incident, russian warplanes buzzed two vessels warning that they were in live missiles fire done and in eminent danger. they felt compelled to follow orders to chart a specific
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course at maximum speed with blue north captain david anderson cutting his fishing gear loose in order to evacuate the area quickly. in the third such incident, three russian warships approached a cluster of fishing vessels ordering that they change course immediately. when one of those vessels replied it had fishing gear in the water so it had limited ability to change course, a warship came directly towards it, maneuvering at it to signify intent. as a representative of the u.s. fishing industry and indeed a proud american citizen, i am outraged that the u.s. vessels could ever be subjected to this kind of treatment by a foreign military power. i want to share two messages with the committee, any future incident, u.s. authorities must be far more active and
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safeguarding our rights. we would later learn that these confrontations were related to a major russian military exercise of which the government received notice. nothing about the exercise was commuted to our industry. when captains contacted the coast guard, the coast guard personnel seemed unaware and were unable to provide our captains with guidance. in the event of any future exercise, news of what's planned must be shared widely and advance with our fleets as well as smaller vessels operating out of the baring sea communities. coast guard assets must be deployed to the area to provide any assistance necessary to u.s. vessels. none of those things happened here. second, this kind of harassment cannot be allowed to become a new normal. in the rapidly changing arctic, we fear being caught in the cross-fire of russia's effort to
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establish a more assertive military and economic presence. our sovereign right to fish within the useze must be protected. to protect u.s. interests in the region is simply nonnegotiable. i would defer to my fellow witnesses and expertise to opine on precisely what form that should take. but i thank the members of the subcommittee for their focus on this region and for considering the enormous economic and national security stakes that are at play. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. and i agree with your comments wholeheartedly and we'll have a good discussion on some of the details of those. hopefully you saw admiral ray's testimony and the coast guard's view on that. dr. francis, you have five minutes for your oral statement and if you would like a longer written statement, we can provide that for the record.
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>> i have a few slides i want to share while i'm speaking. thank you to chairman sullivan and the committee and particular to senator -- for inviting me to testify -- arguably for today is because of the staggering decline -- in the arctic sea. think of this ice as the earth's mirror. it reflects most of the sun's energy that hits it right back to space without entering the climate system and losing so much of this mirror is literally a threat multiplier to our
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national security in several direct and indirect ways that are distinct from those you have heard about today. the most direct impact of ice loss is the escalation of global warming. the extra heat being absorbed in the art tictic ocean has intensd global warming by 25 to 40%. we've all watched in horror as a record number of billion dollar disasters including wildfires, heat waves, floods and hurricanes devastated parts of the united states and elsewhere threatening communities, straining agriculture and food security. this is the face of climate change. the ice loss is causing the arctic to warm two to three times faster than the earth as a whole. this is exacerbating the melt of glaciers and the ice sheet which is certificating sea level rise
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and threatening coastal cities worldwide. the rapid warming is -- which could -- vast stores of -- effects the frequency of extreme weather events as the north to south difference in air temperature is a major factor controlling weather patterns. recent research suggests a reduction in that temperature difference will make weather systems more persist which will lead to droughts, storms and cold spells. it poses now challenges to farmers, drinking water managers and even human survival. the peoples of the north are
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also being directly affected by their transformed surroundings. hunting is their primary source of food and the loss of ice as a hunting platform has thrown their way of life into chaos. the species they usually hunt have shifted migration patterns or disappeared all together and sub arctic animals have appeared well north of their typical ranges. the ice serves as a means of transportation as well but now it's often too thin to be trusted. the coastal villages are being washed into the sea as winds blow over open ocean rather than over stable sea ice. their roads and airstrips are buckling as the ground thaws and collapses. these impact are undermining the security of arctic communities in alaska and around the hemisphere. the news is not all bad, however. expanded areas of ice-free
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arctic water, allow vessels to shortcut passages, natural resources that have been inaccessible under the ice can be more easily and economically exploited. but this easier access also comes with heightened risks to those venturing into an arctic ocean with little in the way of our infrastructure, emergency facilities, accident mitigation resources, or even ports of call. change has come quickly. and the region is woefully unprepared for these new activities. what can we do about these threats to national security posed by arctic ice loss and warming? the impacts i've discussed are symptoms of the underlying disease. to treat the disease, we need to pull out all of the stops to reduce emissions of heat-trapping gasses and to remove carbon from the atmosphere by both natural and technological means. the symptoms must be addressed
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by proactively building resiliency which depends on research that characterizes the physical threats, identifies the specific risks and develops strategies to protect those in harm's way. this will not be easy or cheap. but the reactive approach will be much more expensive and threatening to national security. thank you very much. >> thank you, dr. francis. i'm going to ask the witnesses -- some of the similar questions that i asked admiral ray. general kee and ms. madsen, i would like you to comment on the issue of both arctic infrastructure. we have six that have been authorized in the national
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defense act. one is being built now. as you know, and you mentioned it, general, the capacity of the united states relative to the great power competition rivals like china and russia is significantly less, dramatically less. as we're building up the fleet and as we're looking at the issue of even short-term bridge leasing, how much do you think it makes sense to make sure these assets are actually in the arctic so they can respond to arctic-related national security, economic security, environmental security issues. general, we'll start with you. >> senator sullivan, thank you very much for that question, sir. i'll offer a couple of reflections. number one, i believe respectfully that the ability to
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create home ports is a multiyear endeavor. it does require the ability to leverage a port that has capabilities, whether road, rail, air. but some aspects of logistics that connect it -- to connect that port to a transportation network. it does also, of course, really need housing, schools, and the logistic support aspects of being able to handle the crews, the maintenance, logistic support teams, et cetera, that the coast guard has. t so the idea to me, what i would offer to this conversation is to -- if you take the long-term approach, over time you build to a capacity, you take -- maybe consider some ideas of building intermediate capacities such as an expea dish nar facilities
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that they can operate from -- in between times they would need to go to conduct repairs that would require the home port, large-scale facility. i look at the idea that having home ports in the arctic, it would make sense long term, is the ideas that building this in concert with really -- from a civil military government, sort of joint venture makes much more spen sense based on the cost it takes to build in the heavy capacities of repair and the transportation networks. so the answer is yes. it's just a matter of time and looking at solutions that are intermediate as you work through the stair steps to create actual home port that has all of that heavy capabilities that they're in. the idea of leasing as an intermeasure, to me, again, as
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an intermeasure, makes lots of good sense. it is going to be a wild before we can field organic capability. but we need to think about as the whole logistics passage, make sure it's a complete math equation that encompasses all the cost variables in the leasing equation so there's really no surprise to the coast guard or to the congress that would be authorizing and appropriating such expenditures. thinking through the full math equation of getting comprehensive package would be important. i believe it's a good measure and a short term measure to buy time and reduce risk to allow the coast guard to get caught up with organic capabilities to have a more robust capability of
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projecting u.s. persist presence into the arctic region. both the u.s. arctic region and the international arctic spaces. i give the floor back to you, sir. >> i'm going to step out for one minute here. there's been a couple votes that have been called. senator, markey, i'm going to yield the reminder of my questioning time to you and i'm going to try to get back here as quickly as possible. and so you can go vote, if you haven't already voted. and then i will continue follow-up on the questions. if that sounds good to my ranking member, i'm going to head down and vote right now. i'll be back. thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman, very much. climate change is an intersectional issue. it effects our health, economy, environment, and security. we're talking about the need for robust security planning in the arctic region. but changes in the arctic means less security for the rest of the country as well. dr. francis, is it true that
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changes in the arctic climate effects sea levels and weather patterns throughout the united states? >> it's absolutely true, senator markey. thank you for that question, yes. >> yeah. it has repercussions. they're washing coastal villages into the sea, changing animal migration patterns and collapsing roads and airstrips. outside of the arctic, the broader climate crisis is bringing on other disasters. do you think we're doing enough to consider arctic security in a holistic way, taking into account, weather patterns, indigenous peoples and global sea level rise? >> thank you, very much for the
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question. i think we are doing way -- at this point to -- as i mentioned, to treat the disease. the underlying disease that is -- causing the ice to melt. causing the -- and in turn is causing sea levels -- sea level rise -- seeing this happening before our very eyes. the changes that are happening in the arctic are affecting not only the people who live in the arctic but also down to the islands through sea level rise and through changes in weather patterns. my own research is acutely on this connection between the rapidly warming arctic and the changes in -- the main underlying effect is to cause weather patterns to become more persistent. when they become more
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persistent, that leads to longer draughts and longer more prolonged heat waves and even longer stormy periods. you might remember years ago when we had six nor'easters almost in a row. these types of weather regimes that are becoming more persist to a whole variety of extreme weather events. >> how can the u.s. government, including the coast guard better invest in understanding and guarding against the effects of climate change in order to better increase our national security and our economic security. >> well, i think one of the main avenues that we should be going down right now is increasing the amount of information about the physical world up in the arctic region, both the atmosphere, the ocean, the ice and the -- so the atmosphere, this would help
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with -- weather -- lack of data and information. and in terms of ocean effect, no relatively little about the way the ocean currents move up there and things that effect how we could respond to how the coast guard would respond to any kind of event that might happen up there. say an oil spill, what ch wich the wind going to blow it if there was an accident? if people were lost overboard, which way would they drift? we're lacking that information
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about the arctic system itself would would play into research, but any kind of environmental crisis and many of the operations that the coast guard undertakes on a regular basis. >> again, i apologize. i'm going to have to make this roll call as well. one final question, what areas of research do you think most critical to invest in order to better protect the arctic base and resources. >> it really goes back to what i was just saying. the understanding of how the -- and we -- but it's a real moving target. the arctic that we have now is
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very, very different from the one that was there -- 20 or 30 years ago. and any of the -- the research that needs to occur and information that needs to be provided that can help us update -- >> dr. francis, i apologize. you're having a little bit of an audio problem right now. i just want -- i want to thank you so much and i apologize because i have to, like, make the same roll call that chairman
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sullivan is making and i thank you so much for all of your great work and, randy, thank you for yours as well. i'm going to put the hearing into recess until senator sullivan returns. thank you, dr. francis, so much.
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>> the subcommittee hearing will now reconvene. and, again, i appreciate the witnesses' cooperation and flexibility here as we're voting in the senate. ms. madsen, i wanted to get back
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to you with regard to not only your testimony, but with regard to what admiral ray had said with regard to the incident that you mentioned that really was an outrage with regard to not just the russian actions but as admiral ray mentioned, there were some miscommunications, certainly, by the coast guard. i have been asking for an after-action both from northern command coast guard and the u.s. navy. what would you -- as we're looking at this, what do you think we and -- i'm talking about the coast guard, the navy, others involved, prevent future incidences from happening again. as you mentioned, this can't be the new normal. but what specifically would you and your members want to make
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sure happens with regard to coast guard actions and other actions that we as a u.s. government can be taking. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i think that in our written testimony, we lay out three actions. the first one is definitely we need to hear from our government, not from the russian military about any activities. and so i think that what we've discovered is that i don't really know how to describe it, other than there was some kind of a gap in communication between the u.s. government who knew about the exercises and the coast guard that we depend on and communicate with quite frequently. so i think that's one. our u.s. government needs to communicate amongst itself. the other more important one is, if we know that these exercises are legal and going to continue, then i think we need coast guard
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assets on the ground so that there is someone not 200 miles away, at least, that can provide some kind of protection or guidance to the fishing fleet. senator sullivan, you might know as you go further north, the border gets very constrained between the u.s. so it's not just the large fishing vessels that were impacted. i'm also concerned about some of those smaller vessels operating out of the northern baring sea communities that could be impacted. we have to look at a variety of communication systems and then when they know what's going on, we need to have coast guard assets there. >> i think that's a great recommendation. not just being made aware, which, of course, that should have already been happening, but
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with regard to an exercise of that size and nature to have our own assets in the region to protect with regard to what we are doing in our own fishing fleet. i agree with that and i think that that's something we will strongly encourage with regard to the coast guard's activities. let me ask, again, general and ms. madsen, the issue of infrastructure. we do have a large fishing fleet. it is an issue that as sea stocks move north that the need for more infrastructure in alaska is not just a national security requirement but an economic and a safety requirement. as i mentioned in my opening testimony, we're making substantial progress for a deep
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water draft port in gnome, alaska. what else would you like to comment on as it relates to protecting america's economic, national security fishing opportunities and other issues regard to arctic infrastructure. i would like for both of you to be able to comment on that. >> senator sullivan, if i might start. sta stephanie madsen. i lived in dutch harbor for 19 years. i'm a little bit passionate about the international port of dutch harbor as one of the main deep water ports that is already in existence. certainly gnome is very viable and important as the arctic becomes more of an issue. i think those have been
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identified. the coast guard -- we depend on the coast guard. thank goodness for the coast guard. not only to help us enforce fishing regulations and it's difficult to have them based in kodaik. so i think that that would also encourage and enable the fishing fleet as the distribution of the fish changes to help us feel secure and have coast guard responsive including the polar ice breakers. >> before we go further, senator, i would like to offer condolences as well. i didn't get to say that. please accept my condolences to you and your family for your loss. >> thank you. >> i would like to offer a couple thoughts -- first it was
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a great question and i appreciate the opportunity to reflect. i look at this strategically that the -- our arctic interests are continuing to rise. our arctic economic security interests are continuing to rise. when you look at the idea of creating ports and deep water ports are enablers to places where coast guard vessel and is navy vessels can operate for, but also an opportunity to provide an economic engine that is needed in alaska and in particular to provide an economic opportunity to advice the livelihood of those people who live there to give them options to stay in this region and have a viable future and viable careers as opposed to where there really is not economic engine there yet. and so strategically, the idea of building ports in increasing joint ventures with the commercial industry, the idea of an arctic and really a baring --
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where culture activities could be pursued and would begin the process of economically developing alaska and in our national interest. we're looking at the idea that communications are critical. communications shortfalls is what happened in august are very evident. we as a center that i have -- are focused on commencing very, very soon a new study called the alaska and arctic maritime communications connectivity analysis to really take a look across the community of alaska, broken into five sectors, to really kind of break down what the communication shortfalls that the mariners are facing including, of course, the fishing fleets are facing in these regimon so they can be notified in a timely manner and have the means to communicate when things what happened in
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august manifest. the idea when you think about ports is an idea of looking at -- dutch harbor is well known for projecting power into the pacific. when you look at port of nome. it's a swallow port. but you have the idea that several have talked about, and i mentioned this in my relatively lengthy written statement, the idea of a port complex. i know those have ventured that idea forward where you look at a port complex between the existing port structure in nome as a natural deep water area and the idea of a port complex as conducted in places like the gulf coast. the idea of building this over time and identifying opportunity there to not only, of course, serve commercial industry it could help service and the idea of building port infrastructure
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that connects with transportation notes, looking toward the long term future of creating transportation networks that include -- that connects fairbanks out to nome. at the end of the day if we're going to really realize our arctic interests, and particularly the baring region, we do need to think about how partnerships in the commercial sector could be of interest and viability to reduce the taxpayer burden, of course, but to create the idea of joint ventures that can provide prosperity to both the commercial sector, the residents who live there and operate safely for national security assets. >> thank you, those are great. i want to go back to admiral ray's comment at the end of his testimony on the issue of the coast guard's focus on iuu issues and he talked about it
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from the perspective of the coast guard and the sustainability of our oceans and our fisheries throughout the world. i would like your perspective from that of the fishing fleet. can you share how critical it is to combatting iuu fishing? i was proud as your senator one of the first bills i was able to get through this committee was actually the implementation of the iuu fishing treaty. the domestic legislation that did this. how important is that? how equipped do you believe the coast guard is to combat iuu fishing issues, particularly as admiral ray talked about, the fisheries migrating north and what would you like the coast guard or knnoaa or other federa agencies to do more of in this regard.
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>> thank you, senator, for that question. as you well know, you know, our fisheries compete on the global market. and so if iuu fishing is not enforced and -- that means our markets are being impacted as well globally. and we're already -- as you are well aware because you're one of our heros, that that's a big impact to all of our fisheries, especially up in the north pacific. so i believe that support of the coast guard, certainly funding, but i think it's a little bit bigger that be just a coast guard. i think internationally we're going to have to pool our resources together. it is critical. it is important. you know, our -- one of our direct competitors for pollack is russia right now. you've hit on it. you've been our champion. it's going to come down to persistence, continued funding and some very strong actions
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that indicate to the globe that we're not going to stand for it. >> so many of these issues, whether it's iuu fishing, whether it's protecting our economic interests, dr. francis, our environment interests, they all in many ways converge on this issue of presence, infrastructure, coast guard vessels, ice-breaking capabilities. so the united states can actually be in the region, protect the region, and -- as admiral ray said, focus on what the coast guard does throughout the rest of the nation which is protect the coast and the sovereign interests of the country. shouldn't be any different in the arctic, off the coast of alaska, than it is in the gulf of mexico and i was glad to hear the admiral say that. general, let me ask a more specific question. prior to this hearing, i was on the phone with the national
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security adviser, ambassador o'brien, he is the lead on the presidential memo that came out in june. i thought it was very positive. it was something we had been pressing the trump administration on exactly how to protect our economic and security interests in the region. and there is an interest in looking at bridging the gap with regard to ice breaker coverage that we currently have which has been exacerbated by the heely fire for two medium-sized ice breakers to be leased. there is strong interest, i can tell you at the white house, to do this and to have these home ports in alaska. if you had a recommendation for the national security adviser on this issue, where would you look
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to home port and it would have to be relatively soon, like within this year, two additional medium-class ice breakers that could start to protect america's interest. it would be leased from other sources than just being built. what do you think the best place is given what you talked about earlier in your testimony, would be to home port these two vessels in alaska. where would you recommend that happen? >> first of all, thank you for that question, senator. and let me offer a reflection before i address the question. because i think at this point it's really important to know and the details of the lease package. for example, would there be an intent to have repairs provided on scene where the vessel was, quote, home ported?
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because if you brought -- you need to have that kind of capabilities, what would the leasing enterprise provide? for example, would they provide vending logistics to conduct not only the medium-level, if you will, through flight -- or through -- oh, my goodness, the through vessel missions when they come and go and back to station at home port, those -- essentially that maintenance conducted between level repair s. that going to be provided by the vendor, it's on their ability to bring that capability forward and so that therein lies the challenge. if you had the company that we're leasing from, anticipating this to be a finished effort and as a nato partner, not a nato ally, they have aspects in the commercial sector that would be
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well familiar to people. they're not military vessels as admiral ray described but they're capable of bridging the gap. if they had a bring forward to do the kind of maintenance work needed, i would get as far forward with that as i could. simply because it is incumbent upon the vendor to provide that capability. if they're limited in this, you know, for example, it could be placed to operate from for example. especially if the draft -- if space was available, and using air logistics to the airport there for time sensitive delivery of materials and logistics would be a critical aspect to this. so the idea is, again, go -- >> sorry to ruinterrupt here.
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but if this was a leasing decision soon, a home porting decision soon, i get -- and it's important as you highlight the details of the leasing package, but from what exists currently in alaska in terms of coast guard capabilities, coast guard stations, pier space, what would be one or two locations that you think could be top on the list? >> well, then, senator, i would look to obviously where the existing coast guard capability, for example, kodiak, and refurbish the aspects of dutch harbor. both of those are known ports, refurbishment costs are minor at this point. there is perhaps more housing available in kodiak. near term it would probably be kodiak, dutch harbor, and
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looking for the north to nome as soon as you could get there. even if you operated from nome part of the time and went back to kodiak. >> let me ask, i'm going to close the hearing with one final question for all three witnesses. you know, we've covered a lot of ground here. we know that the arctic is channeled by remoteness, severe weather issues, receding sea ice, but it's also a strategic area, major shipping locations, increase of great power competition, resources. what we haven't talked too much about is emerging technology to overcome some of these colleges or play a greater role. i'll just throw this out for the final question. is there any technological
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approach to some of the challenges that we're not thinking about that we might take advantage of in the future and that relates to domain awareness, that relates to observer capabilities, any of those issues that given the expertise of the three witnesses on this panel, you would like to just highlight for the committee as a final topic before we close? >> senator, i would like to take that question, if it's okay with you. >> sure. >> strategically, advancing scientific technology is about platforms, autonomous platforms, whether under water, surface or aerial. to conduct the kinds of remote monitoring, including some of the infrastructure challenges the coast guard highlighted and
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monitoring at-risk tank farms and petroleum tanks where degrading permafrost is causing these infrastructures to bear more monitoring. using aerial systems to monitor these are an important aspect. being able to not only have platforms that can respond to oil spill sponsor characterize the arctic are things technology has solutions that can be of support. this is an area that's ri for onward discussions, but communications, satellite based fail to have connectivity to mariners, coast guard mission sets, and of course, the defense community is critically important. i would love to dive in this deeper, but i know time is short. so let me offer those as a set of reflections. lastly, i really appreciate the
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previous discussions by the witnesses regarding the characterizing arctic on a grand scale. to me with matters of the coast guard vantage point, and those mariner operators is the weather outside the wind screen, and so to me how we can better characterize ocean currents and ridging at fine scale is going to matter tremendously, as we look to advancing more mariner commercial activities and projecting sovereign influences in the coming years and beyond. thank you, sir. >> thank you. dr. francis, do you have a view on this? >> yes. thank you very much for this question. and it goes back to what i said earlier. hopefully my internet connection is a little better now and i won't be broken up quite so badly. but i grow with what was just said, and i would just reiterate that so many of the coast guard's operating -- you know, their mission really depends on
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having good information about the weather, about ocean currents, about what the ice is doing, and all of those really depend on getting good information from the environment so that our forecast models, which also need further development, can provide them with the best information about not just what's going on in their neighborhood at the moment, but also the forecast for the next day or week or longer, and they can then deploy their resources more effectively to take advantage of that. beause if there were, as i mentioned, an oil spill or man overboard or some kind of search and rescue, we would know that cruise ships are heading up there. it's still very likely, even though the ice is diminishing, it's still very possible a cruise ship could be going along in the open water, the pack ice moves down on that cruise ship and pins it in a location, runs it aground into rocks or
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whatever. and i think the coast guard would be very hard pressed to be able to respond to that kind of an emergency. so i really think we need to do a better job of getting the information so that we can do a better job with the forecasting of both weather and the ocean behavior and the sea ice. >> great, thank you. ms. madson, i will leave it up to you to close with that question. >> well, thank you very much, senator. as you know, we're pretty proud up in alaska about the science that we have. we have a pretty extensive climate model. we are -- i'm focused on fish. but the climate model extends far beyond that with its projections. the alaska fishery has some of the lead scientists in this regard. we have moorings that have been taking different measures of different things for many, many
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years. so we need to continue those time series, because i'm focused on fishing, i think we need to use and work a little bit better on cooperative research, using the platforms that we have out in the bearing sea. i know that this year we were unable, as you know, to get our fishery surveys done. but with the help of the science center, many of the vessels data loggers to collect temperature so we could inform as much as we could without the surveys. so i think there's opportunities here. i guess maybe not technology based, but we do have the models up in the north pacific. we need the surveys to continue to inform those models, which means money. but it's kind of a dual focus, a dual purpose. you not only get the data that would inform those models, but the data to inform the changes
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and the total catches up in the north pacific. so we have great science up here. i think we just need to double up on it and make sure the funding is there to encourage the continuation of some of these long-time series. and senator, we do appreciate all the work that you have done for the north pacific and the fisheries for sure. so i can't let the hearing clos. >> dr. francis, i know holds yo, as well. so i want to thank the three witnesses for a really productive hearing. saw a lot of good, bipartisan participation in this hearing, which i thought was great and important. the record for the hearing will
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remain open for an additional two weeks, if senators have additional questions, they will please submit them for the record and for our witnesses, if you can respectfully try to get those answers back as soon as you, we would greatly appreciate that. with that, i want to thank the witnesses again. a lot of good information and a lot of important issues we need to work together on. i think we have a lot of important information to digest and move forward on, as we continue to look at the challenges and opportunities in america's arctic. with that. this hearing is adjourned.
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weeknights this month we feature american history tv programs to preview what's available every weekend on c-span3. tonight, american history tv join tour guide eric finley to learn about the history of mobile, alabama, and to visit africa town, a national historic land mark neighborhood north of the city, founded by former slaves.
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recently discovered under the mobile river, the ship smuggled approximately 110 kidnapped west africans to mobile in 1860. watch at 8:00 p.m. eastern and enjoy american history tv every weekend on c-span3. with joe biden as president-elect, stay with c-span for live coverage of the election process and transition of power. c-span, your unfiltered view of politics. with coronavirus cases increasing across the country, use our website, to follow the trends, tract the spread with interactive maps and watch updates on demand, any time, at
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next, a discussion on the development of a coronavirus vaccine with the head of the national center for immunization and respiratory diseases. this is from the aspen institute. is currently leading cdcs effort on the covid-19 vaccine. 2019, she directed -- [crosstalk] to activate a center-based response to an unknown respiratory disease in china that later transitioned into a full agency response to the covert 19 pandemic -- covid-19 pandemic. dr. nancy messonnier is leading the effort to support the covid-19 vaccine program in the areas of into mentation, safety, and access for hard-to-reach populations with the goal of ensuring a safe and effective covid-19


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