Operation Arctic Crossroads set to begin

JUNEAU, Alaska – Coast Guard, U.S. Air Force, Army National Guard, Air National Guard and U.S. Public Health Services personnel are scheduled to deploy to Nome and Barrow for 20 days beginning August 10 to determine operational effectiveness and overall capabilities of assets as well as provide medical, dental, optometry, boating safety awareness and other community services to more than eight boroughs throughout Northern Alaska.

Operation Arctic Crossroads 2009 will be supported by approximately 70 people scheduled to visit Kivalina, Koyuk, Wales, Unalakleet, Kotzebue, Shishmaref, Savoonga, Gambell and Little Diomede.

Recreational boating safety teams are also scheduled to visit communities in an effort to increase boating safety awareness in the region. The Coast Guard will conduct small boat operations in Norton Sound in the vicinity of Nome and later in Barrow to test operational operational capabilities and gather information about the maritime operating environment. Numerous Coast Guard cutters are scheduled to deploy in the Arctic region during the operation and into the fall.

Over the last few years the Coast Guard has been expanding its role into the Arctic region including its responsibility for providing search and rescue capabilities and safeguarding oceans and resources in Northern Alaska including the North Slope.

Based on priorities outlined in the National Security Council’s inter-agency review of Arctic policy, it is anticipated the Coast Guard will have expanding Arctic roles and missions in the next five to ten years to include enhanced national security, protecting sovereignty in the Arctic, safeguarding our oceans and resources, facilitating safe navigation, protecting Arctic maritime commerce and pollution prevention and response to name a few.

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