tv Senate Hearing on U.S. Coast Guard Arctic Strategy - Part 1 CSPAN December 30, 2020 10:07pm-12:36am EST
your unfiltered view of government. america's created by cable television companies in 1979. today, we are brought to you by these television companies who provide c-span to viewers as a public service. ♪ onnext, a hearing safeguarding national interests in the arctic. the senate commerce subcommittee on security heard from coast guard commandant admiral charles wright, who testified about russia and china's growing power in the arctic region. the entire hearing is about two hours and 25 minutes. conversations]
chair: this hearing will come to order. to welcome our distinguished witnesses as our subcommittee focuses on the capabilities of the u.s. coast guard and safeguarding our interests in the art the. we will be having two panels today. first, the vice commandant of the u.s. coast guard, admiral charles ray, who is doing an outstanding job. our second panel will be of experts major general randy key, and will be remote, as well as
stephanie mattson, executive processors the sea association from juneau, alaska, remote meansis via as a senior scientist at the woodall center in massachusetts. subcommitteeis held a hearing that focused on arctic strategy released by the coast guard in april 2019. that strategy prioritizes three lines of effort, one being the need to enhance our capabilities for operating in the arctic through persistent investments in infrastructure, assets and personnel need to close cap in presence, particularly given our , china andhe arctic russia, and domain awareness in this region of growing local
focus pretend he's hearing before needed investments in our arctic capabilities, and the vital work that still needs to be done. an arctic has shifted from area of cooperation to the next region of great power competition with our near-peer competitors, china and russia, outpacing the u.s. in the development of ice-capable vessels, and investments into arctic infrastructure. the u.s. only has to polarized -- only has two polar ice breakers, and a fire aboard the healy this summer put half of the icebreaking fleet out of commission. as a result, the polar star is the united states' only icebreaker, while russia has approximately 54. this cap incapability creates space for russia and china,
which now has more icebreakers than we do, to exert maritime influence in the arctic, which they are trying to do, and amplifies existing vulnerabilities for vessel traffic safety and security, maritime law enforcement, fisheries resources management, search-and-rescue, and environmental response. inhave seen russia push all on controlling the arctic. russia has opened 16 deepwater built 14 airfields, arctic military bases and even formed a new northern arctic command. vladimir putin has referred to the northern sea route as the new suez canal, which he says russia intends to fully control. he has made major military investments to secure this route for russia, and his government has threatened to sink foreign vessels that do not have a russian pilot on board or a russian escort vessel.
a recent months, russian provocation has increased -- in recent months, russian provocation increased, the russian navy conducted its largest exercise since the cold war in alaska, extending into the u.s. exclusive economic zone. our fishing fleet encountered a frightening situation in close proximity to a number of fishing and directed them to immediately depart their legal fishing grounds pre-these were russian warships, pictured here -- fishing grounds. these were russian warships, pictured here. this shows the locations, clearly within the u.s. economic zone, where our fleet was legally fishing when russian warships and aircraft, including supplements, -- including submarines, pictured above, ordered our fleet to leave the area. u.s.ut persistent
presence in the arctic, we risk leaving an opening for these types of aggressive actions to continue. recognizing the importance of these critical gaps, commerce has already made steady progress towards authorizing needed investments. currently, the closest u.s. deepwater port of the arctic is dutch harbor, on alaska island, which is 1000 miles from the arctic circle. not very close. committee onenate environment and public works on which i sit past america's water and infrastructure act, drafting the arctic deep port at nome, alaska, as the first in what we need to believe is a series of strategic arctic ports and is a major step forward for our nation in protecting america's interests in the arctic.
nome will not only be critical for maritime transportation, it will serve as a staging area for search and rescue and security operations with the coast guard and navy. in june, the president weighed in on the importance of acquiring a polish security icebreaking fleet -- a polar security icebreaking fleet. with the release of the president's memorandum on safeguarding the arctic region, the presidential memo adds weight to efforts in congress to authorize and fund new polar security cutters. getyears ago, i was able to authorization in the ndaa for the operation of six polar-class security cutters to start building our icebreaking fleet. we have followed up with funds to build the first and are working on appropriations to appropriationond,
funding for the second polar class icebreaker. i am disappointed in what i believe is the coast guard's lack of strategic vision for where to home or to these new port these -- home new icebreakers. in making sure there are plans for grouping similar assets together in similar locations for cost, this should not override the operational imperative to base coast guard resources and cutters close to where their mission is. that is what the president's memorandum asks for, particularly as the arctic has emerged as a critical area for great power competition. and the icebreaking vessels we are building and will likely be leasing need to be able to nearte and to be stationed
the arctic, or in the arctic, where the action is. to the national security advisor, ambassador o'brien, and i believe he shares similar views. these investments in our arctic capabilities will help ensure the united states does not cede any more ground in this strategic location. without further investment in our polar capabilities, our adversaries' interests will grow, and we risk conducting commerce, to enforce international law and to defeat threats to our national security. i want to thank our witnesses for participating in our hearing today to discuss this very important topic. i want to recognize the chairman of the committee, to see if he has any opening statements, and
then i will turn to ranking member senator markey. senator: thank you, chairman sullivan. it is noteworthy we are having a hearing on the arctic, and it is 62 degrees in this hearing room. i don't know however capable leadership managed that, but it is very appropriate. to have a hearing about the tropics next time. but in all seriousness, it is great to have admiral ray with us, and the other distinguished panel. and thank you, chairman sullivan, for your leadership on this important issue. vasts to the arctic's minerals, fisheries and other commercial resources, and expanding international
competition for these assets, is intensifying, as the chair so ably stated. peerca's nearest competitors, russia and china, have both declared the region a national priority and have made corresponding investments. by contrast, u.s. investment in the arctic infrastructure capabilities has not kept up with our economic and national security interests. and i want to be a teammate about subcommittee chair in rectifying that discrepancy. the u.s. coast guard is on the front lines of strategic security competition in the arctic. the coast guard has operated in the arctic since 1867 when, through the foresight of secretary of state william seward, america purchased alaska from russia. set ofst guard's verse arctic missions includes
search-and-rescue, enforcing treaties, and environmental protection, facilitating commercial trade and protecting national security. the coast guard's icebreaker nation'ss as the principal tool to conduct many of these critical missions. and i have to stretch to call it a fleet. the icebreaker fleet as well past its service light and in dire need of replacement. long-standing concerns with the icebreaking fleet's size and age were underscored august 18, 2020, when the coast guard and icebreaker, suffered an engine fire, forcing the ship to return to her home port in seattle. the fire left the coast guard operating with a single icebreaker, the polar star, until the healy can be repaired. during a visit to alaska hosted by the distinguished
augustittee chairman in just before the fire, admiral ray and i landed on the healy in the arctic. i have witnessed firsthand the critical capabilities of this and of its dedicated crew. fire, combined with aggressive russian naval exercises in the arctic, demonstrates the need for more u.s. icebreakers. the coast guard will now have to stretch the service life of the polar star, the nation's only 2023,icebreaker, until extending its lifetime to nearly 50 years, well beyond the intended 30 years. in stark contrast, russia currently has four heavy nuclear powered icebreakers and 11 medium icebreakers, with three
more under construction and 11 additional icebreakers claimed in the next decade. the coast guard stated repeatedly that it requires at least three heavy and three medium polar icebreakers to fulfill its icebreaking initiative -- it's icebreaking -- its icebreaking mission. the coast guard has a contract for the first three heavy polarize countries, and we hope there will be more. with our be a teammate distinguished subcommittee chairman in that regard. but in addition to new vessels, we need short facilities, peers, ers, andort -- pi support personnel to sustain a fleet of heavy ice cutters. i hope we will prioritize and accelerate the acquisition program. icebreaking capacity and
supporting infrastructure are just two of the many challenges facing the coast guard in the arctic. withat visit to alaska senator sullivan, i spoke to coast guard service members at air station kodiak, and aboard the coast guard gutter -- coast guard cutter douglas munro about their role in protecting marine life. the committee is helping the coast guard enforce our fisheries laws and respond to fisheries disasters. alaska and my state of be thousands of miles apart, but we share a major interest in fisheries, and the coast guard is protecting them everyday. we hope to address -- protecting them every day. we hope to address these and other issues in the coast guard our chair, with senator sullivan, which we were -- which we are optimistic
will passed in the next -- which we are optimistic will be passed in the next couple days. sullivan: thank you. i believe senator markey is having an issue getting on video. the equipment is frozen. are going directly to admiral ray for his opening statement. mention, mr. chairman, with you and the admiral's help, right now, it is looking like to have thegoing coast guard authorization act. this has been a goal of mine since i got here, to pair those up we need is a good resident and hopefully won't be a one-time occurrence this year, but something that we can look at doing every year. and i know the coast guard has been supportive of that as well. so that is good news. admiral wright, you have been
doing a fantastic job in your role, and i look forward to your testimony, five minutes of oral testimony. and you have a longer written statement. we would be glad to put that into the record. the floor is yours, sir. ray: chairman wicker, thank you. on behalf of the commandant and all the men and women of the u.s. coast guard, we pass our sincere condolences chair: thank you. : i want to thank you for your unwavering support of our service at this update to protect american sovereignty, promote economic spirit and expand american leadership across the arctic. physical,y changing operational and strategic arctic environment is driving increased activity in the region. and with that, increased risk across the maritime sector.
our mission has evolved since 1867, but our commitment to the region has not. we are leaning forward to address the safety and security of arctic residents at the mariners who make a living there, home port by home port, fast response counters, investing in alaska real estate, infrastructure, and prioritizing our operations. the coast guard is deeply concerned about the rising strategic risk to our nation, as china and russia compete for diplomatic, economic and strategic advantage in the arctic. both nations have publicly declared the arctic a strategic priority and they continue to make investments to advance their interests. russia continues to invest heavily in icebreakers and arctic infrastructure, better positioning themselves to shape the security and geopolitical environment in the region. they are developing natural
resources, expanding the breaker fleet and imposing strict governance on the route. i am extremely troubled of russian -- troubled about russian activity in the bering sea. in august, they extended a live fire exercise into the zone occupied by the united states. irresponsible exercise created confusion and potentially unsafe interactions vesselsrican legally fishing in our easy. -- our ez. we cut through the red tape and let them know of our concerns. we sailed the healy up there to let them know about our concerns. i'm concerned russia chose to push the boundaries and responsible behavior in the arctic and put americans at risk. china also aspires to exert
influence across the arctic, leveraging natural resources and infrastructure. they launched a ship which operated in the high arctic and announced plans for two additional arctic scum outpacing our icebreaker building program. additional arctic icebreakers, outpacing our icebreaker building program. construction of a security cutter in 2021, the first time we have done this in over 40 years. a marineontracted with company in mississippi to design and build up to three polar security cutters and extreme the support to build the next generation of assets. our arctic shield continues to be the primary means of
protecting and executing our sovereign rights and responsibilities in the arctic. our flexible expeditionary approach has never been more important. as alaska cruises were canceled due to the pandemic, we directed resources to conduct additional patrols to monitor foreign research vessels and enhance policing of our maritime border with russia. for the first time since 1984, the coast guard will conduct operations north of the arctic circle during this winter. science foundation as a result of the pandemic decided they did not want to nd the polar star to mick murdo -- to mick murdo in to mcmurdo in antarctica. this demonstrates the need for an ice breaker fleet to
safeguard our interests in high latitudes. on protecting sovereignty in our u.s. arctic, the coast guard is building partnerships. this summer we deployed to cutters to participate in military and search-and-rescue exercises off greenland, operating with allies in denmark, france and canada. as we shape the region as a safe and prosperous domain for all, you have my commitment that the coast guard will continue to assert all efforts to meet this challenge. thank you for this opportunity. i look forward to your questions. thank you, admiral. when senator markey is
available, we will make sure he has an opportunity to provide his opening statement. i want to commend coast guard on its decision on the polar star for arctic patrol this winter. can you update the status on the healy, how extensive the damage was and when you think the healy will be operational? i had the opportunity to meet with the captain and crew a couple months ago when they were in seward, alaska, and it is a great crew, so i am glad everybody is safe. an update would be appreciated. : she is in the yard at merritt island, san francisco bay. they have done work on her before, so they are no strangers to her. the motor we had to replace is 115 tons. we had one spare. someone had foresight years ago. when we commissioned healy, we
built this parent built a building around it at the shipyard. it was too big to ship i ray truck, ship by rail or we had to ship it through the panama canal. the motor is replaced. we expect her toward the end of the month. she will enter dockside availability at her home port and be ready to sail summer and go back up north. i am sure you are familiar with the memorandum from the president on june 9 of this year regarding the arctic and icebreakers and where to look at home porting them. pressing i have been memo,ody listed on that secretary of defense, homeland security, secretary of the navy, secretary of state, omb director, national security advisor, is the importance of
when we look at icebreakers, and i think everybody recognizes the need to build a fleet, because we really don't have a fleet, but to make sure they are home ported in an area in which they are in the region. can you talk about that? because right now, when i talked to senior officials listed on that memorandum from the president, america foster has national security interests in the arctic, to a person they recognize that home porting icebreakers in alaska makes long-term strategic sense and is in the long-term strategic interests of the united states. mentioned, i love the coast guard, but sometimes i get a thinkinga strategic deficit on these issues, where too much of the home porting decisions seem to be based on where the current crew is, not
where the action and presence is needed. can you talk about that? yes, senator sullivan. with regards to the president's memo, that was a joint effort between coast guard and department of defense, noaa, department of state. we created a document and it was submitted to the nsa. when they release that, i am not certain at this point. during theasked, course of this time, we did in our response say that alaska home ports should be considered in the analysis. have an ongoing homeport analysis for security cutters. it is ongoing. we expect it to complete in
august and have a report by the end of this fiscal year. and that will definitely include options for home porting in alaska. chairman sullivan: your timeline for completion is august? the homework will be done in august. i will double check this rate and then we will have the analysis of it, working it through our review process, by the end of the calendar year. chairman sullivan: with regard to leasing, i talked to the national security advisor, i know icebreakers are being looked at in finland. last week, i chaired the readiness subcommittee hearing on armed services, peering from the secretary of the navy, cno of the marine corps, he talked
about this issue. there is another icebreaker in florida, i guess, not sure what but inoing in florida, terms of the potential to lease those soon, these are medium icebreakers that would essentially bridge the gap we recognize we have. my understanding is, the white house, national security advisor, possibly the navy with regard to their funding, are looking at moving forward on hopefully as early as the end of this month. do you have any comment and do you support it? admiral ray: senator, with regards to leasing, that was part of the presidential directive, to investigate that. and we went about that with a joint navy-coast guard team. we have gone about investigating the feasibility of using those
vessels for our purposes. and it wasay, accepted by those that nsa and others, any leasing arrangement would not be in lieu of building our own icebreakers, this would be in addition to. chairman sullivan: i agree with that, as a bridge, couldn't agree more. and there is a potential. one of those vessels could be a benefit as a bridge, as you say. chairman sullivan: good. ok, admiral, sorry, sometimes these remote hearings, you have to get a sense of who is on the line and who isn't.
for now, we don't have anyone on the line. i will continue my line of questioning. with regard to the leased icebreakers we are looking at, speaking to the national security advisor about an hour ago, and i would fully support it as chairman of this committee, there is also leasest if we do icebreakers in the near future, to at least have those home arctic,n america's which is alaska. give me a sense of what goes into the cost-benefit analysis, because to me end to so many i have spoken to, it seems to be a strategic no-brainer that if the entire point of having an icebreaker is to protect interests in the arctic, to have it in the arctic. porting inthe home
seattle is a couple thousand miles away from the bering strait, were a lot of the action is, and the arctic circle. give me your thoughts on what we could do with medium icebreakers right now. i think the white house is looking at something that could be home ported, hopefully soon, in alaska, but what are the different things the coast guard is looking at? it seemsioned, frustrating that they pretty obvious choice, long-term strategic thinking, would be that you would want these home ported, at least some of the fleet, in america's arctic. senator with regards to potentially leased icebreakers, a short-term urging strategy --
short-term bridging strategy, we have not invested significant effort and where we would sail those from. the closeness, the geography of the mission set they would be engaged in, your point is well made. with ourr-term icebreakers, there are multiple factors we consider when we talk about the ability to maintain. we realize through your work on the committee that you will provide the resources we need. chairman sullivan: we will. admiral ray: we appreciate that. what we look at his mission effectiveness, the ability to bring those to beer in a reasonable amount of time so we have a high probability of success when we do sale that -- bring those to bear in a reasonable amount of time so we have a high probability of success when we do sail that
copter. and families have to live and prosper in that setting, so when we talk about longer-term home orting of cutters -- home porting of cutters, those are elements we consider alongside geographic operations you described. chairman sullivan: let me ask a related question. studiese feasibility with regard to home porting of polar security cutters in alaska, possibly australia or , and alsotica mission feasibility study with regard to the ability to protect american interest as it relates to china. i know there was a look at guam and maybe american somehow up. how are those feasibility
studies going? i am talking alaska, australia, and for the frc, guam and american samoa. said --as i admiral ray: the feasibility study for the copter is ongoing at this point. chairman sullivan: just to be clear, those are for the six authorized polar security .utters authorized in the ndaa the longer-term ones we are building, not necessarily the bridging ones that we need in a short-term enter time, correct? admiral ray: yes, sir. we are still working on analysis of the home ports for them. with regards to fast response cutters, thank you for your support of our ability to home
port those where they need to be, in alaska. we are building things to the support of this committee. we have funds already designated in kodiak to build up the peers there, we have funds on the unfunded priority list for sitka, so we are tracking with regards to basing those in alaska. chairman sullivan: we appreciate that. admiral ray: regarding fast-response cutters in the south pacific, the discussion about potentially home porting one in american samoa, we have to have them in guam right now. they are there. of them in guam right now. they are there. we will continue to analyze this and see what we come up with. chairman sullivan: senator markey is on the line. i will recognize him and then
turned to senator scott. senator markey. senator markey: thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for the great work in this very important hearing. i want to thank our distinguished witnesses, including dr. jennifer francis, senior scientist at the woodall climate research center in fall month, massachusetts. the frozen arctic is actually not so frozen so more in a complex and fast-changing environment that has caused a host of issues for us to confront. and we know, many of these changes are driven by the human-caused climate crisis. if we don't talk about effects of climate change of the arctic, we can't fully understand the threats to our security.
a novel arctic climate is according to recent research, "extremes become routine," the climate shifting from cis to open water and from snow to rain. nearer in theare antarctic, where they pine islands and glaciers are breaking free -- the pine islands and glaciers are breaking free. the collapse of ice sheets will have immense implications with coastal states like massachusetts facing up to 10 feet of sea level rise. these climactic changes are of incredible concern to our country. the arctic is warming twice as fast as the global average. arctic 1992 and 2019, nearly oneank by
million square miles, an area larger than the state of alaska. extent isctic sea ice second lowest on record, with new trade routes opening and towns being flooded, the changes are drastic and unfolding out and unprecedented degree. the effects are felt far afield from the arctic, with impacts in lower attitudes on weather patterns, extreme events and see rises. in 2019, areas within the arctic circle experienced a massive fire season. that was supposed to be a freak occurrence. rejected byren't scientists until the mid century. continued torisis worsen, but now, researchers say the 2020 arctic wildfire season, a previously unthinkable concept, is likely even worse than the one before.
when i consider changes in the arctic, it is with appreciation that i remember a climate scientist and climate change pioneer, dr. conrad stefan, a leading researcher on the consequences of climate change in the arctic who died in a tragic accident this last summer. stefanber talking to dr. into thousand seven in greenland and heard about research that caused climate change -- and heard about research that was causing the ice sheet to melt at unprecedented speed. and because of our failure to take drastic action, the ice sheet is melting twice as fast as it was during that visit 13 years ago. the arctic region is not some far, remote expanse. it provides livelihoods to many. it is a global fishing center. it is a cultural and sacred place for arctic and indigenous
peoples. it is the home of rare and endangered species. and it is now at immediate risk as a result of the human-caused climate crisis. the arctic is a keystone of our climate system, which means arctic security is a national security issue affecting all americans. i want to thank our witnesses for being here. thank you, all, for the work you do. you, admiralto ask ray, last year, we spoke about coast guard oil spill preparedness. the coast guard previously acknowledged unpreparedness. 2020, a russian powerplant experienced a massive failure that dumped thousands of tons of diesel into the polar arctic a fragile
ecosystem. what specifically has the coast guard done to improve its oil spill response capabilities? admiral ray: thank you, mr. ranking member. .everal things this summer during operation arctic shield, we made a concerted effort to get out and , this summer when you put together with the work we did last summer, we visited 92% of facilities that stole potrero -- that store petroleum products in the alaskan arctic. we were able to work with the owner-operators of these facilities to ensure that those don't become -- because as you know, the russian spill was caused by following permafrost and failure of containment tanks let severalt
thousand gallons loose. to inspect and 92% of those. we continue to work with federal, local and federal stakeholders to perform withises this summer regarding to -- regarding exercises for spills. markey: is there any other advice you have to protect against spills, foreign or domestic? the most specific, other than the capabilities that move this equipment, which you are providing, c-130 and helicopters, those would be helpful in responding to any sort of incident in the arctic.
senator markey: you mentioned the permafrost is melting. it is expected to vanish by the end of the century. but in your written testimony, it does not include the word wordse change -- the climate change. should the coast guard be planning for human caused climate change? we are agnostic as to the cause. but we are paying attention to country, upover our north in particular with regards as you discussed, there was water where they used to be ice, youi-year ice has receded, can clearly see a greater expanse of water. we have seen it this year in our hurricane season. had morelf coast, we
named storms than we have had. we pay very close attention to and scientific analysis, but that is what we look at and build two as we are planning our operations. markey: i understand what you're saying, but you can't be agnostic when it comes to climate change, it is what is costing the hurricanes, melting the permafrost, it is what is driving the changes that we are seeing. do you think the coast guard needs to integrate climate resilience into the construction of new facilities in the arctic? admiral ray: absolutely, senator. markey: i want to make it clear that i thank you for your service, admiral. excellent joban
and i look forward to working with you. chairman sullivan: senator scott. thankr scott: i want to chairman sullivan for his commitment to the coast guard, the arctic, and all the things he has taught me about icebreakers. idea, the importance of icebreakers, until i got this job. chairman sullivan: being a senator from florida, we are ok with that. scott: i had a great deal of help from chelsea, who will eventually be a great coast guard admiral. capabilities have remained stagnant for decades, and russia and china continue to advance policies and dedicate resources to capitalize on the arctic. influenceowing presents a danger to world
markets, the united states and our allies and freedom around the world we must do everything we can to make sure our men and women in uniform have every resource to defend against the growing threat. i want to thank chairman sullivan. he was a big advocate of making sure the coast guard started getting paid when we were shut down. guardl ray, the coast plays a crucial role in defending our security. can you talk about resources you need to remain competitive in commercial and defense capabilities in the arctic, and how we improve coordination between the coast guard and department of defense as we combat what russia and china are trying to do in the arctic? admiral ray: thank you, senator scott, for the question. with regards to resources we need to improve our readiness,
we use the same resources in the arctic. this readiness piece of the coast guard our commandant has talked about, it is straightforward. we have had really good success with getting the fundus to purchase new assets. where we have fallen behind is in the fundus to maintain those assets and operate. the department of defense, when they went to address their readiness deficit a couple years ago, they realized about a 12% increase in funding. and we are about flatlined. so that is a challenge. that is one thing we need. usingf the assets we are up there, the polar security cutter is going to be really important as we continue to build arctic capability. timehairman asked me last
about our communications capability. we made progress, but it is going to require investment in satellite capability to operate up north. i would be glad to provide a more fulsome briefing, but our readiness has to do with operations and maintenance funding for current assets. about our engagement with dod, we are lashed up as tight now as we have been on arctic issues with dod, then we have been in my lifetime. we have an integrated program office with the navy to construct the security cutters, and it has been a tremendous help. our ability to award that aidedct in april 2019 was by our cooperation with the navy and their experience with that. ge --or scott: is the bu
is the budget issued the fact that it is separate? is not part of the dod. admiral ray: we are part of homeland security, we filed under that regime in budget distribution, if you will. the coast guard is well-positioned and the department of homeland security. force, armedtary services at all time, but we also have title 14 authority which gives us law enforcement authority. we are a member of the intelligence community. the department of homeland security is a great place for the coast guard, but when it comes to readiness funds provided to the coast guard via the department, that is where we could use some support. scott: thank you. chairman sullivan: in my opening
remarks, i did mention that this successfully,ime, that we are pairing up the coast guard reauthorization act with the ndaa. coastrings synergy to guard and other services operations. i'm assuming you support that? admiral ray: absolutely, and we appreciate your efforts to make that happen. chairman sullivan: i think we are making a precedent this year, hopefully in a bipartisan way we can make that happen every year. because it helps the coast guard and other services. senator bloom and all -- blumenthal. blumenthal: thank you, senator sullivan, and i would clamation point that
this is bipartisan and i hope we can continue the work that we do together, because the coast guard deserves that reliable treatment in terms of authorization and appropriation. we are very proud in connecticut to be the home of the coast guard academy. the coast guard has a long and storied history in connecticut. we regard it as one of our own. i'm very, very grateful for the guard has played in advancing our interests in the arctic. chairman for making the topic of vocal -- a focal point of our hearing. i know that that is not the purview of this hearing, so if you want to respond in writing, i would welcome it.
but whistleblowers at the academy have complained about racial tension, racial slurs and other abuses that are deeply troubling that have been disturbing to us in connecticut .or a long time from thereport department of homeland security office of the inspector general on racism at the academy found to coast guard has failed thoroughly investigate racial harassment allegations, including use of racial slurs, and failed to discipline cadets .ound guilty of that behavior
for specific incidents included in the report, i think you will agree have no place in society, much less the military or the like theinstitutions great coast guard academy that we are proud to host in connecticut. race-based and harassment by cadets at the academy have gone largely underreported because of the stigma and shame attached to providing information. and sometimes they have been ignored. >> as you know, a little bit and a virus, hatred intentions spread. it's a contagion that i know the
oast guard leadership is committed to stop. i just want to ask you what you can tell me to update us, as the coast guard is doing about this very important topic, do to monitor it it. counter i raise this topic certainly not think lly but i necessarily because i know, and you are certainly committed to stop racial slurs or any kind to give and i just want you an opportunity to respond. >> thank you for the question, senator. to heart. this the report of the inspector general from the department of security as well as the ship report, from 2019, we into those in the course of the last year. we addressed every single
recommendation and direction was provided in those two reports and in policy and procedure. what mportantly, i think we've done with those is go from ot just fixing our manuals and policy, we've created tools to put into the hands of our and i'm talking about commanders at large across the know how to ey conduct an investigation. they know what they have to report up. to track harassments because many times these things harassment and turn into something bigger. of e put tools in the hands we commanders that will -- will use those across the service so they can take action. take it seriously. >> have you heard of recent reports of these kind of racial slurs continue something >> i have not heard of recent reports from the coast guard sir.emy, no, >> since the june report have
you heard in and what steps have you taken? sir, i've not heard any since the june report from the coast guard academy. i'll double-check with my team but if there is something that get a of this nature i report from our civil rights director every month on things this nature, and so, i'm pretty sure i would have know, i've notyou been informed but i'll double-check and get back with you. senator blumenthal: if you could double-check i would appreciate it and i would also be my rested to know, because time has expired, maybe you can respond in writing, what kind of have been ve steps taken to change the culture, and cadets the n the idea that there is zero olerance for this kind of abuse? >> i'll respond in writing to your question, sir. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, senator blumenthal. cantwell.n't
>> thank you. appreciative of you being here today. the house is taken up the ndaa passing legislation including the coast guard with for six ice breakers. we definitely believe in that mission. bipartisan effort and to fund those icebreakers as past so i want to ask you specifically about moving forward. will the coast guard continue to build ice breakers beyond the recapitalize on these urposes of both the climate arctic aspect of the mission? now that plans we have would be the next step of building out our ice breaker fleet. however, we're always
thataluating the fleet mix we need with regard to ice breakers. e'll continue to look at that and evaluate that. down in i was just mississippi early last month, halter shipyard with our support commander and for operations, just o let them know how important it was to us and to our nation, and they get it and they are that. out on with regards to the second part of your question, senator, i'm sure i caught that. cantwell: there is the
we nce capabilities, that don't want to get lost in all of. this i want to make sure we're a work force. currently your short 400 and we on personnel certainly think the arctic is an important prevention mission, so sure what we're discussing here are the kinds of to keep that you need the science mission and to have force. >> thank you for recognizing that. regulatory role in the coast guard which often goes unheralded but it's so important. talking with the our or chairman earlier, secretary in anchorage traveled all over alaska and they ended about 92% of the inspections at the petroleum storage facilities in alaskat kind of work those folks do so bad things don't happen. you for your support. senator cantwell: what do we
and support more people? >> the way we were training our prevention officers is something doing for the same way for years and we need to do effect.greater where we have centers of excellence and just in time train them to do the missions need.e it's much more complex now, whether it's deep water offshore whether it's up in the arctic oceans so the support once again this comes to the readiness funding that we've been talking about, human capital. so to develop that human capital t's operations and support funding. that's how we train people. that's how we send them toe so e centers of excellence, our people are on the right footing to do the regulatory ole they need to do to protect our natural resources. cantwell: we want a center of excellence. people trained in the arctic, between no difference senator sullivan and i and many of our colleagues on these
issues. thank you. taking it that you do agree that the science mission of the ice fleet should continue? absolutely, man. that's an important part of our mission and has been for many years. cantwell: thank you. >> thank you, senator. ask a few other follow-up questions and then if senator markey has any and there might be one or two additional senators that are to participate in coming down to the hearing room. i highlightedyou, opening y in my statement, but the august 26th we had with this assive russian military exercise that went into the united states eez. i know that you, the coast in juneau, ict 17, the headquarters, were often
ade aware of these kinds of exercises, to coordinate with northern command. navy.inate with the u.s. i've raised this with the ecretary of the navy, with the north com commander. what do you think happened that we can improve on to make sure that doesn'tg like happen again? in t of all, our fishermen my view should never be out of the forced american eez when they are that y fishing, and yet, did happen because the russians were being quite forceful. secondly, there seemed to be somewhat of a lack of sure ation flow, and i'm and i know, because i've requested it, and after action, we improve that upon that particularly as it elates to our fishermen, whether they are based in seattle or based in alaska, this is a huge part of the u.s. part of my uge state's economy. these are great hard working
can youc americans, and just comment on that and how we avoid that from happening again we need to take. if you're looking -- i know you re, but coordinate with north this.n and u.s. navy on >> it's a multipart question so i'll try and answer it in the way. first of all, as i described the in vity of the russians planning and executing that exercise, i think there was a degree of irresponsible there to be addressed and we've done that. written t correspondence, we have an atte he in russia and we have a relationship with the russian bodyguard, so we're working. ith that said this was not our best day with regards to doing our role, to look at american fishermen, the u.s. coast guard. so i'll just be quite frank.
we own some of this in that, there is about 4,000, over 4,000 of those hydro packs of come out, it's a form message that would describe the there.at's on your chart 4,000. the ones that in our exclusive economic zone we have a duty to attention to that and we've looked at the ways that we can communicate that with the fleet and we did not do that, that day. there are ways they could phones it on satellite and satellite receivers and other types. there is also ways we could transmit it and make a pointed effort. hat we're doing to hopefully prevent this from ever happening again we're having biweekly eetings with the industry groups. etsy rticular, the processing group that will be featured in your next panel to how we can communicate that to the fleet so he fleet knows in advance when these things could cause a challenge to their fisheries
operations and we're dedicated better job with that this is not a once and done thing. consistentng to be a effort to keep the fleet informed. >> great. > we were talking about different things the coast guard needs in terms of its presence, job in ities to do its the arctic one of which is infrastructure. anchorage, dutch harbor, these are about, a good miles away es, 1200 from the arctic circle. so alaska, as you know is a big state. you're up in alaska doesn't mean that you're near at all to the action. as i like to say that would be functional equivalent of having a coast guard base in protecting the interest of boston or rhode island or maine. infrastructure is critical. we have made significant here on the deep water draft port for the port of nome, much more, in terms of
able to c sense, protect the interest of the arctic. he last time you testified before this committee, you emphatically stated the need for kind of ports and infrastructure. can you just comment on that mentioned, in the environment and public works harbor e, the ports and bill has a very significant authorization for deep water port, that could handle ice breakers, that could handle fast response cutters. national security cutters. destroyers from the u.s. navy. what's your sense of that? vision for aneed a series of strategic arctic ports the way russia does. a littleomment on that bit and how important that is to the coast guard? senator, i will. i first want to thank you for the infrastructure that you've provided us already. as you know about 10% of the coast guard's infrastructure is alaska. >> we'll continue to provide that as you need it.
>> yes, sir. really, specifically with regards to codiac. that's our stepping off point at present with regards to all of gulf of tions in the alaska or heading further out are up north in the bearing and further north. if there was a deep water port north -- we would take advantage of it. benefit to the coast guard. senator sullivan: let me ask one just going to make one more point, again, on the and -- if we were to do of a leasing with regard to medium ice breakers, again, i bridge for some of the polar class ice breakers, those in alaska would make immediate sense. we look at, i know the coast guard has already talked about for some of the polar s, building on those makes sense but there will be
more than just two or three from working on so i want to just make that statement from the chairman's position here on that.mportance of and the do you need coast guard needs? we're already working on the the ndaa and een re-authorization act. my goal would be to do the e-authorization act every year just like we do the ndaa. total sense. but the coast guard needs a re-authorization about every the way the rest of the military does. is there anything else you need from this committee, whether arctic related or any other broad-based issues that are at your list right now? >> senator, i thank you for your support. discussed two e here, that mes realization that the coast guard needs in addition to the capital assets, that congress has been providing us, we need those operations and maintenance
funds moving forward because us go and whates will make us be the coast guard that we need to be. remiss, and i -- they would be disappointing in me, my coastys, when i travel around, they still remember that of down, partial shutdown 2019 and how that affected them. this really affected them and just families so i would ask for your continued support for direct finance, so the never have -- if any military members are getting be getting ed to paid. sullivan: i agree with that last comment. it's my goal as chairman of this committee to make sure something like that ever, ever happens again. it was an outrage. coast guard members, the family members, and trust me, di alaska with lls in them. they were appropriately really
issed, and they should have been, and we need to make sure that doesn't happen again. additional e one senator who joined us. senator cruz. the floor is yours. cruz: thank you, mr. chairman. et me thank you also for convening this hearing and for your leadership on this issue, leading sullivan is the champion for the coast guard and he u.s. senate, and also the leading champion for america leading in the arctic and i'm grateful for your leadership in both regards. appreciate that, thank you. enator cruz: i'll also note, admiral, the question you raised about the shutdown that shutdown and 19 was unfortunate senator sullivan and i together teamed up on legislation to pay 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 the men and women of the coast guard hostage so i'm
reprize we don't see a of that in the days and weeks to come. arctic circle has strategic, economic, and military significance for the united states. i want to thank the coast guard for your continued presence in the region. your leadership. working to protect america's interest. i have said for a long time that adversary who would benefit from an american retreat. globe.oss the president xi and the chinese ommunist party are investing heavily in the military as is russia. today, who isment in the arcticower circle? > senator, thanks for the question. from the analysis that we've at , obviously, if you look the planet from the north down, looking down at the north pole, extensive the shoreline that russia has, you
know they are a force to be with, just because of geography. they have got the geography and hey have got the natural resources there. n the near term i think russia is certainly the nation that we should really be paying close attention to but we cannot ever eyes off the ball on china. i think the behavior they are regions,ng in the polar not just the arctic but the over by green land as well, they are displaying similar activity opinion, an n my analysis that i've done, with regards to, you know, following playbook they followed in the south china sea and following the places everywhere else. they will get a toe hold, start name of science and other things and the next thing you know they are moving there, if ir agenda that answers your question, senator. senator cruz: in your be the nt, what would effect to the united states if
cede control of the arctic to the russians and the chinese? >> well, it would be no ceding the gulf of mexico to somebody else. approach to the united states, although it's not adds accessible as the gulf of mexico pacific coast or name your coast but it's the same sovereignty rules and the same. we and the duty, coast guard, and this is -- we have a duty to protect it. ago, when i was a young officer in the service, obody talked about it because of the multi-year ice had not receded but now there is access didn't exist. travel through the bearing 200% in as increased or five years. i would say we should be to exert oure able sovereignty, protect our provide support for those who have access,
eco-tourists, americans, a lot of them. also, the folks who are alaskan natives who live and make their living up there. to be the same coast guard, i'm speaking from a coast guard perspective, for them as any other state in our country. senator cruz: you said in your that state ement actors as well as nonstate seeking to advance their own interests in the arctic. what did you mean by nonstate actors? >> well, the potential for iuu exist up there. that's coming. when we were in nome the summer before last -- enator cruz: pretend hypothetically that a senator in the room didn't know that acronym? illegal and unregulated fishing. scourges in the pacific. whether it's happening in the
off the ific, bahamas, coast of africa or somalia, one of the most degradation of resources the planet knows and it has effects. year, in nome, t there was a bright scientist, out he explained, she drew a map for us in the gravel of the parking lot of the harbor at and she explained to us, because polak is the most american fishery, we could probably get arguments on hat from other parts of the country, the greatest inapacity, and that's caught the bearing sea and the pollock is moving north. there is a moratorium on fishing in the arctic, which everyone agrees who has the capability to ish up there, but they will be up there and they will deplete those resources just like they let do anywhere else if we them. senator cruz: what resources
does the coast guard need to state and nonstate arctic --the >> the capital assets, to build that fleet. what happens is, and that's why them polar security cutters. breaking ice is just a means to an end. to get coast guard cutters with coast guard men on where people need a rescue -- and we do both of those. resource that is we eed and the aircraft, the communications capability to go with them, but i was saying and er, operations establishment funds are really the long pole in the tent for right now stoochlt too as a closing observation, i will say i was up in alaska with senator sullivan and my advice the coast guard
to stay -- that senator sullivan larger that alaska is than texas and i can tell you, e texans don't believe the lying maps that are put out and outdvice is for to you stay of that particular squabble. >> just for your information, larger, if you split alaska in half texas would be the third largest state in the country, and i don't think makers are lying. but i'm glad you were up there. very popular. there is another senator who was in alaska recently as well, lee has joined us and i'm sure he has some questions as well. lee: i feel quite intimidated. i'm not going to get into this dispute. never realized it was up for debate whether texas was bigger than alaska. for debate just for the record. lee: admiral, thanks for all that you do. the mission of the coast guard essential to who we are and our ability to live
our lives as we do. testimony, you note that the ability of the united states in the arctic hinges on physical presence in the region. defend our an our own and safeguard security interests. you know that this is really and we ought to stick to that does this mean we access year round to the polar regions. also noted ard has that it needs six polar security cutters. pse's for their missions. is that the ing coast guard and navies' first for a psc ard anticipates construction beginning sometime next year. 2021, is that right? delivery of a vessel
by 2024, meaning that we may not vessels to fully replace our aging ice breakers for five or take.ve possibly a little bit more. is that right? senator. accurate, enator lee: how does this timeline harm the coast guard's and its ability to missions?its >> this timeline -- it's really unavoidable. it's we have cutters that are over 40 years old. the ldest one, polar star, one that we talk about the most, t's interesting, a sense of urgency has been on the coast guard for several years now. that the hankful result of the leadership here, and this subcommittee and the of the administration, we're moving forward with recapitalizing. the longest journey starts with step and we're on the
step. senator lee: federal law usually prohibits the use of foreign shipyards for the construction f coast guard vessels or major components of coast guard vessels. no secret that finland has boasted that they can build an ice breaker within two years and they could do it for less than $300 million. undoubtedly, we need, for the stated, hat you've quite persuasively, we need to with china ompete and with russia, and this regime particular. in order to accelerate our acquisition, based on our needs do you acquisition, think congress ought to consider in a limited manner sort of general g the prohibition on foreign shipbuilding? in other words, would or could,
granting some limited to our nato partners and friendly arctic that s, to help -- is something that could help the coast guard acquiring the to getlity that it needs these vessels up and running so that we can establish this need in the we arctic? i'menator, first of all, as sure it's no surprise, we're huge fans and supporters of the american industrial base and the gulf coast ong the and i know you are, too. the that said, i think bridging strategy that makes the coast guard athe this point is this potential to of these ice breakers because -- it would have to be to be able to have the authority that we use it for. perspective we've to of trying to bridge, close this gap that we found
makes more sense to me. sure, lee: just to be there would be no security threats or issues that would if we were to lift this restriction such that we could in a different allows, arerent law there any security issues that would prevent us from ontracting with someone orrating within a nato power with another friendly nation, a friendly arctic nation perhaps, help us meet our shipbuilding needs? would that present any security threat? >> certainly. it depends on which one you're talking about. are created equal, but of the arctic nations that i'm i've dealt h that with, security of the ones that re our allies would not be the first concern i would have. >> they would not be the first
would have. you and would they be a concern at all? to have concern finland, fort from example? >> is security a concern? senator lee: yes. to my knowledge, sir. senator lee: thank you very uch, i think my time has expired. >> one final question that relates to what senator lee was asking about, he raises a really point about this huge gap in capability for coverage of protecting american sovereignty. isn't that one of the reasons the president put the memo out on the issue of, if you're not to build, which creates some legal challenges at least right now under current law, to we're and that's what looking at doing right now, potential medium ice breakers from finland as one option. is that correct? >> there have been several vessels alluded to.
sullivan: but to at least bridge that gap until we can build our own? general strategy that we've been exploring as a result of the president's memo. senator sullivan: do you think it makes sense? >> to a degree it does. do want to state. these vessels, i've been around -- various commercialized breakers, if you and they are not to military design with regards to to unications, with regards damage control, with regards to wepartment talization, so if get in some sort of -- we have some sort of accident because of we nature of the work that do, so there are different caps. we would have to do some work to them. one off the take shelf. if it was we probably would have long time ago. so there would be some work required to make these for the with that said,
the commandant's position and my position that we can see gap. works to bridge the >> i just have to ask the question. that the nd the point senator sullivan has raised, and gap, if uld bridge the we could lease a ship built in our nd, that would suggest ecurity needs are met, and if the only reason why we're not securing that vessel from u.s. law because prevents it, even though we could potentially do it for a of the cost, and get it half the time, i would suggest that's a question for us to consider as a congress. why is it that for the sake of yielding to the status quo of law requires, s.
if there is no security so, why on for doing would we need to limit ourselves rather than buying with regard to a finished built ice breaker? i've got for ion you. >> sir, i think it's in the preserve nterest to our base, shipbuilding base. proven that. that's what won us world war ii so i think to outsource for uilding of new ships the use of our military, that would be something we would have to consider long and hard so my position is that we need to protect this industrial base which is declining. is declining ase along the gulf coast and in other places. anyway, that's where i stand on that. agree, lee: i completely it's legitimate to maintain our base to have access to those things. when our own industrial base
can't do things in the same way could do, especially arctic ally, a friendly nation, i think that's a good for us to ask ourselves the question of whether we ought to revisit some aspects of law.ting thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator lee. admiral, i want to thank you just for this hearing but for the outstanding work you've been doing for the coast guard. so many issues beyond just the arctic. i appreciate very much your testimony for this panel. the record will remain open for two weeks and if there are dditional questions from senators for the record, we respectfully ask you and your try to get back to those as soon as you can, but for now, sir, we're going to move on to our next panel and i want to your you again for outstanding testimony today, and your exceptional service to our pass on to these men and women of the coast guard
that we got their back and we're working to try and make sure we of them and give them assets and training that they protect our nation, and do it in a way that makes all of us proud. >> thank you very much for the opportunity, mr. chairman, and we really do appreciate your support. senator sullivan: absolutely. we're now going to turn to our next panel. witnesses that i mentioned earlier. hey are all testifying remotely, so hopefully this is easily. work we have major general randy key. madson and general francis. dr. key, we'll begin with you, sir. chairman.ternoon, mr. ranking member and members of washington, tee in d.c.
it's an honor to discuss arctic capabilities, safeguarding interests and promoting economic security. respectfully commend the committee's interest. atave the privilege to serve dhs center of excellence in aritime research hosted by the university of alaska. i'm also a research commissioner. the following reflexes are mine necessarily not represent the views of the organizations to which i'm assigned or affiliated. experiences in the arctic, i've spent time istening and learning from alaska's indigenous community part of the been a began.ty since time indigenous people concerns, military cooperation -- really many across the globe. to continue arctic exception by no means s assured and -- ensure american
security and sovereignty show priorities. u.s. the opportunities of an opening rctic are incentive for arctic nations, conduct maritime transport, advance project sovereignty influence. has ussian federation refurbished former soviet arctic additional -- jetting power to and through the arctic. ith a dominant number of ice breakers russia can project surface forces in multiple directions simultaneously. russia national decision-making and defense planning are opaque russia's arctic military advantage could be met resolve and strength as america cannot afford to be weak.ved as rom my vantage, russia's actions in the bearing sea in late august is unacceptable.
and ould not go unanswered should not happen again. it is important to note, russia an arctic nation who share a critical -- it's in both the ests -- conversely people's republic of china advances influence through the use of its economic power to across the arctic. china is normalizing an arctic breakers, a ice gaining port access and advancing mining interest. unconceivable china may conduct measures closer to the ease than maritime we would like to prefer articularly based on china's track record. it is in our interest to find a way to decouple joint approaches beijing in ow and the arctic region. this is possible through that atic encroachment does not condone or malign russian actions but guided by a number of re are common arctic interests between
moscow and washington, d.c. i do believe that great power competition need not become confrontation. gainst the backdrop -- strategically challenging theaters in the planet -- search and rescue disaster response, aw enforcement and support of civil authorities. as a military pilot with 30 years of service operating in me assure you what america says in the arctic daunting ng, requires courage, expert skills. --s coast guard [inaudible] as well as other international arctic waters. the authorization of [inaudible] a critical gain capacity is well below what's needed. new ice breaking cutters need an ability to defend, communicate and ascertain the operating domain. the summer's recent mishap
of lenges the long lines communications from the home in seattle -- [inaudible] serve an expeditionary function and ding a logistical affordable levels of repair. more such facilities -- -- an or nome, could important third option -- return to home port in seattle. be t guard home port should located in robust multi -- with -- housing, school, logistics. i truly wish such facilities existed in alaska's arctic. and advocate for smart and long commitment to establish joint civil government development of alaskan ports. s a former military programmer i am guided by the principle -- -- incremental -- at or ing capabilities near the bearing strait as it
could become a strategic port in or the panama canal to global maritime commerce. motto, north to the future -- [inaudible] believe the importance of the arctic will continue to rise. please know how appreciative i of your service to our nation providing in these difficult times. look forward to addressing your questions. >> thank you, general. you.ank >> ms. madsen. madsen: thank you, mr. chairman. hairman sullivan, ranking member markey and members of the subcommittee. thank you for the opportunity to testify. madsen.is stephanie i'm the executive director of association.sors i've spent my entire career working in the .earing see,
it's a stunning productive eco-system and geopolitical adjacent to the russian maritime boundary. for decades the u.s. fishing ndustry has been able to operate in the eastern bearing sea safely and with legal certainty. that sense of security was during the last week of august, when russian military and warplanes initiated a series of outrageous with u.s. fishing vessels operating lawfully. confrontations, unprecedented in my almost 40 working with this industry, gave rise to genuine ofrs for the physical safety fishing captains and their crews. cost the affected companies millions of dollars in loss fishing opportunity. in the first incident -- harassed by the russian military hours.he course of five a russian warplane flew overhead
warns and rs issuing threats via radio and broken english. those threats later escalated transmissions from a indonesian sean warship until a fevered d such pitch the captain tim thomas elt he had no choice but to protect the safety of his crew by complying with russian ilitary orders that we sail five hours south and not return until september 4. n the second such incident russian warplanes repeatedly buzzed two vessels. he blue north and bristol leader warning via radio that they were in live missile fire danger. in imminent they ultimately felt compelled to follow russian military a specific course at maximum speed with blue north cutting avid anderson his fishing gear loose in order to evacuate the area quickly. such incident three russian warships rapidly pproached a cluster of fishing vessels ordering that they change course immediately.
when one of those vessels it had fishing gear in the water, so it had limited ability to change course, a warship came directly towards it. maneuvering as if to signal hostile intent. the warship came within half a nautical mile before changing course. as a representative of the u.s. ishing industry and, indeed, a proud american citizen, i am outraged that the u.s. vessels subjected to this kind of treatment by foreign military power. share two main messages with the committee. irst, in any future incident such as this, u.s. authorities safe e far more active in guarding our sovereign fishing rights. we would later learn that these related to as were major russian military exercise government received notice. yet nothing about the exercise as communicated to our industry. furthermore, when captains
contacted the coast guard to was occurring, coast guard personnel seemed unaware and were largely unable to rovide our captains with guidance. in the event of any future exercise news of what's planned widely in advance with our fleets, as well as smaller vessels operating out of northern bearing sea communities. the coast guard must be on alert nd coast guard assets must be deployed to the area to provide any assistance necessary to u.s. vessels. alarmingly, none of those things happened here. harassment kind of simply cannot be allowed to become a new normal. changing arctic we fear being caught in the crossfire of russia's effort to assertive more military and economic presence. our sovereign right to legally within the usez must be protected. from our vantage point, military u.s. ce to protect interests in the region is
simply nonnegotiable. i'll defer to my fellow with impressive military credentials and opine on what form that should take. on the d the focus region and for considering the enormous economic and national security stakes that are at play. thank you, mr. chairman. madsen, and i s. agree with your comments whole heartily and we'll have a good of those on some details. wray'sly you saw admiral testimony and the coast guard's testimony adds well. francis, you have five minutes and if you like a longer you can tatement record. that for the >> i have a few slides i want to share while i'm speaking.
[audio cutting out] chairman ou to sullivan [audio cutting out] testify.ing me to it's because of the staggering -- [audio cutting out] of this ice as the earth's mirror. it reflects most of the sun's it right back s to space without entering the climate system. nd losing so much of this mirror is literally a threat to our national security in several direct and indirect ways that are distinct you've already heard about today. ice ost direct impact of loss is the escalation of global warming. the extra heat now being arctic oceans has intensified global warming
by 25% to 40%. of this are ons sobering. this year alone, we've all as a record rror number of billion dollar disasters including wildfires, floods, and rapidly intensifying hurricanes devastated parts of the united elsewhere. threatening communities, strange agriculture and food security, relief resources. face of ators is the climate change. the ice loss is also causing the arctic to warm two to three times faster than the earth as a whole. exacerbating the melt of glee years and the ice sheet accelerating sea level rise and threatening the coastal infrastructure worldwide. the rapid warming is -- [audio cutting out] -- arctic soils,
which could lead to vast stores -- audio cutting out] >> affects the frequency of extreme weather events as the south difference in air temperature is major factor controlling weather patterns. recent research including my own in nets that a reduction temperature difference will make weather differences more prolonged leading to droughts, heat wafers, and even cold spells. weather patterns pose new challenges to farmers and food security. electric utilities. water managers, and even human survival. he peoples of the north are also being directly affected by surroundings.rmed traditionally hunting their primary source of food and the platformce as haunting has thrown their way of life into chaos. he species they usually hunt have shifted migration patterns
or disappeared altogether, and have appearedmals well north of their typical ranges. as a means of transportation as well. but now it's often too thin to trusted. moreover can, the coastal washed into being the sea as wind now blow over over cean rather than stable sea ice. the roads and air strips are beneath as the ground them thaws and collapses. undermine security of arctic communities in alaska and around the hemisphere. all bad, s not however. expanded areas of ice free rctic waters enable normal cargo vessels to shortcut passages between major ports in eurasia and north america. natural resources that have been under the ice can now be more easily and this ically exploited but easier access also comes with
heightened risks to those ocean ng into an arctic with little in the way of infrastructure, emergency mitigation accident resources, or even ports of call. quickly, and the region is woefully unprepared activities.ew what can we do about these threats to national security osed by arctic ice loss and warming? the impacts i've discussed are underlying the disease. to treat the disease, we need to reducet all the stops to emissions of heat trapping gases and to remove carbon from the by both natural and technological means. addressed byust be proactively building resiliency, hich depends on research that characterizes the physical threats, identifies the specific risks, and develops strategies to protect those in harm's way. cheap.ll not be easy or but the reactive approach will
be much more expensive and national g to security. thank you very much. >> thank you, dr. francis, and witnesses o ask the some similar questions that i admiral wray. general key and ms. madsen, i like you to comment on the issue of arctic, both arctic nfrastructure and the homeporting of ice breakers in the arctic region. mentioned, we have six that authorized, in the national defense authorization act two years ago. one is being built now. as you know, and you mentioned it, general, the united states relative to the great power like china rivals significantly less. dramatically less.
as we're building up the fleet we're looking at the term bridge short leasing, how much do you think make sure nse to these assets are actually in the arctic so they can respond to arctic-related national economic security, security issues being transported somewheres. we'll start with you. >> thank you very much for that question. brief fer a couple of reflections. number one, i do believe respectively that the ability to create homeports is a multi-year endeavor. require the ability to everage a port that has ultimobile transportation capabilities, some mobile
aspects, to connect that port to ssentially a transportation network. does also all the logistics to handle the crews, that the coast guard has, the weapons system platform so the idea to me, and respectfully would offer to this conversation, is, if you take the long term pproach, that over time you build to a homeport capacity, you take, maybe consider some intermediate ing capacities, such as an or ditionary facility facilities, that build essentially ports that vessels from, essentially during a rotation of duty, in in between times they would need to conduct epairs that would really require home port large-scale facility. me i look at the idea,
ultimately having home ports in the arctic would make sense long term, the idea that building this in concert with really, civil-military, civil government sort of joint venture, makes perhaps much more based on the amount of actual cost it takes to build in of heavy capacity essentially -- and the transportation networks. yes.e idea, the answer is it's just a matter of time and at solutions that are expeditionary and intermediate, as you work through the stair steps, that has all the heavy capabilities they are in. the idea of leasing as an interim measure. again, it makes lots of good sense. to be a while before we can field organic capability to leasing ion platforms we also need to think about the whole logistics package. crews, main support, the
that goes with this, essentially a complete math equation that really ncompasses all the cost variables in that leasing equation so that there is really guard, rise to the coast or really to the congress, that would be authorizing and such expenditures, so thank you for the full math quation of getting comprehensive package of what it cost to do leasing, i think, is important. do belief it's a good intermeasure and it's a short erm measure to buy time and reduce risk to allow the coast guard to get caught up with to nic cables to be able have a more robust capability of projecting u.s. persistent pressure in the arctic, both u.s.ened and the international spaces. back to you. >> i'm going to step out for one minute here. couple of votes that have been called.
senato remaining'll yield my time back to you and i'll try to get back as quickly as possible. you can go vote if you haven't voted and i'll continue follow up on the questions if that sounds good. right ad down and vote now. thank you. >> climate change is an intersectional issue. it affects our health, our economy, our 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 of the country as well. dr. francis, is it true that climate n the arctic affects sea levels and weather patterns throughout the united falmouth to florida? true, senatorutely markey. thank you for that question, yes. repercussions that go
far beyond any one region. arctic warming, disruptive weather patterns are villages into the sea, changing an mal igration patterns and strips.ing roads and air it's endanger -- heat stress and other developing disasters. francis, do you think we're oing enough to consider arctic security in a holistic way including taking into account effects on weather patterns, peoples and global sea rise? for the you very much question. -- atk we're doing -- way this point to, as i mentioned, disease, underlying isease -- causing the ice to melt. turn, causing -- and in
it's causing sea levels -- sea rise. we're seeing this happen before our very eyes so the changes that are happening in the arctic affecting not only in the le who live arctic, but also down to the islands through sea level rise changes in weather patterns. acutely on rch is this connection between the apidly warming arctic and changes in weather patterns. even longer stormy. periods.y regimes.es of weather u.s. government, including the coast guard invest in understanding and guarding against the effect of climate
the effect on how the coast guard would respond to any event. in oil spill. which way is the wind going to blow? lost overboard. some of that basic information about the system itself that would play into research and any kind of environmental crisis. >> i apologize. i will have to make this roll call. what areas of research are most critical to protect the arctic?
i appreciate the witnesses cooperation and flexibility, as we are voting in the senate. miss madison, i wanted to get back to you with regards to your testimony and with regard to what admiral ray had said, with regard to the incident that you mentioned. it really was an outrage. as adam bovee mentioned, there were some miscommunications by the coast guard. asking for action from northern command coast but as weu.s. navy, are looking at this, what do you we, maybe others involved
can prevent future incidents from happening again? what specifically would you and your members want to make sure happens with regard to coast guard actions? >> thank you, mr. chairman. we lay out three actions. we need to hear from our government, not the russian military about any activities. what we have discovered is that i do not know how to describe it, other than that was a gap in communication. i think that is one.
they need to communicate among themselves. is, ifer important part we know that these exercises are legal and will continue, we need coast guard assets on the ground. so that there is someone not to hundred miles away that can provide some sort of protection or guidance. senator, you might know as you go further north, it gets very constrained. we were the ones that got impacted this year, but i am concerned about some of those smaller vessels that could also be impacted. we really have to look at a variety of communication systems.
we need to have coast guard assets there. a greatnk that is recommendation. aware --being made that should have already been happening. the size and nature, to have our own assets in the region to protect, with regards to what we are doing. i agree with that. i think that is something that we live strongly encourage. general.k in the issue of infrastructure. fleet. a large fishing as see stocks move north. infrastructurere
in alaska is not just a national security requirement but a safety requirement. making substantial , but where else and what else would you like to comment on with regards to infrastructure, as it relates to ,rotecting national security fishing opportunities and other issues, with regard to arctic infrastructure. >> if i might start, i lived out in dutch harbor for years. i am a little bit passionate about -- no port of the charter as one of the main water port in
important asvery the arctic becomes more open. they have definitely been identified. thank goodness for the coast fishinglping us enforce regulations, provide safety and rescue. it is difficult to have been respond kodiak and to where we were fishing over the summer. that would also encourage and as thethe fishing fleet distribution changes, to help us feel secure. including the polar ice breakers. you.ank
i would like to offer condolences. i did not get a chance to say that, but condolences to you and your family for your loss. first of all, great question. i looked at this strategically. we are continuing to rise. you look at the idea of creating , not only the national security interests, but places where vessels can operate from and an opportunity to provide an intervention that is so needed. we must have a viable future and career, as opposed to the
economic engine there yet. the idea of the economy. where activities could be pursued. .eginning the process it is in our national interest. communications are critical. we are focused on commencing a new study called the alaskan and arctic maritime connectivity analysis. to really just right down what are the communication shortfalls
that they are facing? to be able to have that communication, so that they can be notified and communicate. looking at the dutch for burying-suited and projecting power into the pacific. it is a shallow port. there is also the idea that several have talked about. mentioned this in my relatively lengthy written statement. complex aboutport what is being built out there. idea of a port complex on the gulf coast. the idea of building this over
time, the opportunity to serve as a place that could connect with transportation nodes. working towards the long-term connect.etworks that long-term ideas, but at the end of the day, if we are going to realize our interests, we do need to think about partnerships and how the commercial sector could be of use. of 20reating the idea ventures that could provide the residence that lived there a place to operate. >> thank you. those are great. to theto go back
admiral's comment on the issue of the coast guard's focus. he talked about it from the perspective of the coast guard and sustainability of our oceans and fisheries around the world. i would like your perspective. is you share how critical it ? it is one of the first bills i was able to get through the ofmittee, the implementation the fishing treaty, domestic legislation that did this. how important is this? how equipped is the coast guard to combat fishing issues, particularly as admiral ray talked about, the fisheries
migrating north? what would you like the coast guard to know or other federal agencies to do more, in this regard? >> thank you for that question. , we compete on the global market. enforced, that means our markets are being impacted. , that is awell aware big impact to all of our fisheries. i believe that support of the coast guard, funding, but is bigger than just the coast guard . internationally, we have to pull our resources together. it is critical and important. one of our direct competitors is
russia. thinkve been now a and i it will come down to persistence, funding and very strong actions that indicate that we will not stand for it. issues, whether it is protecting our economic interest, our environmental , they allnterests come in many ways converge on --s issue, coast guard feis vessels. so that the u.s. can actually be in the region, protect the said, as the admiral focus on what the coast guard does through the rest of the nation and the sovereign interest of the country.
i was glad to hear the admiral say that. me ask a more specific question. part of this hearing, i was on the phone with national security advisor. on thethe lead presidential memo that came out in june that i thought was very positive. something that we had been pressing the trump administration on, how to protect our economic and security interest in the region. , quites an interest soon, looking at urging the gap with regards to icebreaker coverage that we currently have, fire, for two the medium-sized icebreakers. there is strong interest at the
white house to do this and to have these home ported in alaska. forou had a recommendation the national security advisor on this issue, where would you look to home port? it would have to be relatively to start to protect america's interests. just being built. what you think the best places, given what you talked about earlier, would be to home port ,hese two vessels in alaska where would you recommend that? >> thank you for the question, senator. let me offer a suggestion. there are some very important to
know details. intent to havean repairs provided on scene, where it is home ported? you need to have that kind of capability, so what would the enterprise provide? would they provide a vending logistics to not only the medium level -- my goodness. through vessel missions, when toy come and go, and back .tation at home port if that will be conducted by the vendor providing the vessel and its ability to bring that theyility forward, that
lies the challenge. anticipating to be a nato partner, they have aspects that are familiar to people. they are certainly capable. is it bridging the gap? fact that ifto the they had a robust capability to bring forward, to do the kind of maintenance work needed, i would get as far forward with that as i could. they are incumbent upon the vendor to provide that capability. this, itre limited in could be a place to operate from . using air logistics to the
airport, a time sense of delivery and materials and just six. it would be a critical aspect to this. >> side to interrupt. this was a leasing decision soon , a homeport decision soon, i get that it is important. details of the leasing package, but from what exists currently in alaska in terms of coast guard capabilities, stations, what would be 12 locations that you would think would be top on the list? see, kodiak.ok and withof those are known existing space.
is something there in dutch harbor, perhaps in kodiak, been-year term, it would kodiak, dutch harbor, looking to the north, as soon as you could graded. and retro >> i will close the hearing with file -- with one final question. we have covered a lot of ground here. we know that the arctic is challenged ivory mootness, extreme environmental issues, but it is also a a resource.ea what we have not talked too much about is emerging technology to
cope and overcome some of these challenges to play a greater role. technological approach to some of the challenges that we are not thinking about that we might be able to take advantage of in the future? to domaines awareness, observer capabilities, any of those issues, given the expertise of the witnesses on the panel that you would like to highlight for the community as a final topic before we close? >> i would like to take a look at that question, if that is ok with you. about platforms,
autonomous platforms, whether under, surface or aerial. the coast guard highlighted then where environmental change and creating permafrost is causing many of the old shares to their close monitoring. using aerial systems to monitor essential. they are things that technology has solutions that can be of support. it is which for onward discussions. they fail to have communication and connectivity to mariners. the defense community is incredibly important.
i would love to dive into this deeper, but i know that the time is short. i really appreciate the previous , to me, what matters is the point. , to me, howerators -- i think it will matter tremendously as we look to advance more activities. thank you. >> dr. francis collins du have a you on this? >> yes. thank you very much for this question. it goes back to what i said earlier.
i agree with what was just said. that so manyerate of the coast guard's operating, their mission depends on having good information about the weather, ocean currents, what the ice is doing, and they all depend on getting good information from the environment so that our forecast models can provide then with the best information about what is going on in their neighborhood, but also the forecast for the next day, week or longer. if there was an early -- oil spill, or a man overboard, we know that cruise ships are headed up there. .t is still very likely
it is still possible that a cruise ship could be going along in the open water, the wind , it pains it in a location and runs it aground into rocks or whatever. i think the coast guard would be hard-pressed to respond to that kind of emergency. i think we need to do a better job so that we can do a better job with the forecasting of the weather and the ocean's behavior. you toll leave it up to close with that question. >> thank you very much. we are pretty proud up in alaska about the science that we have. we have a pretty extensive climate model. i focused on fish, but the climate model extends far beyond
that. scientistsome of the in this regard. that have beenns taking different measures of different things. we need to continue those time series. we need to use and work a little bit better on cooperative research. bewarethat this year unable to get the fishery surveys done, but with the help of the science center, many took data loggers to collect temperature, so that we could try to identify and inform as much as we could without the surveys. ,here are opportunities here but we do have the models in the north pacific.
we need to continue to inform those models. dual focus and purpose. we get the data to inform those models, but also the data to up in the north pacific. we have great science up here but we just need to double up and make sure that the funding is there to encourage. senator, we do appreciate all of the work that you have done for the north pacific and the fisheries. i cannot let the hearing close without thinking you once again. job on soone a great many of these issues. general, u.s. well. dr. francis, i know the senator holds you in very high regard as
well. thank you to the witnesses for a productive hearing. we saw a lot of bipartisan participation in this hearing and the record for the hearing will remain open for an additional two week. if the senators have additional questions, they will submit them for the record. back aset those answers soon as you can and we would greatly appreciate that. thank you you to the witnesses again. a lot of good information and important issues that we need to work together on. informationortant to digest, living forward on -- moving forward on. with that, this meeting is adjourned.
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