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Coast Guard Arctic Shield Banner 2013

Arctic Shield 2013

As the nation’s lead federal agency for ensuring maritime safety and security in the Arctic, the Coast Guard will perform its statutory missions to ensure the Arctic remains a safe, secure and environmentally protected region.  After a successful Arctic Shield 2012 operation on the North Slope and Barrow, Arctic Shield 2013 will focus on Western Alaska and the Bering Strait, and will continue the three-pronged approach with outreach, operations, and capability assessments.

Click here to view Coast Guard Arctic Shield activities.


The Coast Guard has a long history of working with its Alaska Native partners who reside in the Arctic.  The Coast Guard 17th District Commander, Rear Adm. Thomas Ostebo, and other senior staff members actively engage with Arctic tribal leaders and local governments to ensure Arctic Shield 2013 operations do not conflict with tribal rights, interests or subsistence activities.

Coast Guard personnel will also teach children about water safety and the importance of life jackets, and will conduct vessel inspections and exams in the Bering Strait region to reinforce the importance of good safety practices.


Cutters scheduled to patrol the Arctic region include: the ice breakers Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star, and Coast Guard Cutter Healy; a national security cutter; a patrol boat; and seagoing buoy tenders including the Coast Guard Cutter SPAR.

Coast Guard C-130 Hercules airplanes will be strategically positioned near Fairbanks and HH-60T Jayhawk helicopters will positioned on the Seward Peninsula to conduct search and rescue, law enforcement and Arctic domain awareness flights.

Capability Assessment:

A Coast Guard buoy tender and a Canadian coast guard vessel will test a state of Alaska emergency towing system and a vessel of opportunity skimming system to reinforce crew familiarization with the equipment and build upon the Coast Guard’s international partnership with Canada. 

The Coast Guard Cutter Healy will conduct its science missions and will partner with the Coast Guard Research and Development Center to evaluate equipment.

The Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star will test the overall readiness of the icebreaker and crew.

A national security cutter will be deployed as a command and control platform that will conduct various missions to include maritime domain awareness, search and rescue, and law enforcement. The NSC is highly efficient, can be underway for longer periods of time, and is uniquely equipped to respond to threats and events in times of crisis.

A spill of national significance seminar was completed June 18 in Anchorage and a mass rescue workshop is planned to identify potential opportunities for improvement in preparedness and response to a maritime emergency.

A forward operating location with search and rescue capability will be established in Kotzebue at the Alaska National Guard Facility.

Recommended Web sites: National Strategy For The Arctic Region and Coast Guard Arctic Strategy




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Last Modified 1/12/2016