HSPD 25 & NSPD 66: Arctic Region Policy

On Friday, President Bush issued a presidential directive, designated as both Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD) 25 and a National Security Presidential Directive (NSPD) 66, which “establishes the policy of the United States with respect to the Arctic region and directs related implementation actions.”

Although the directive mentions national security and homeland security needs first in all areas, the majority of the implementation actions relate to international relations, the economy, and protection of the environment and natural resources.  And as such, the directive is likely to have a greater impact on the Department of State (designated in all 7 policy areas outlined – see below for details) than on DHS (designated in 3 of the 7) or DoD (designated in 2 of the 7).

Here’s a quick summary of the major sections, and a few highlights.

In the “Background” section, the directive states that it “takes into account several developments, including, among others:

  1. Altered national policies on homeland security and defense;
  2. The effects of climate change and increasing human activity in the Arctic region;
  3. The establishment and ongoing work of the Arctic Council; and
  4. A growing awareness that the Arctic region is both fragile and rich in resources.”

The “Policy” section is divided into 7 areas (with designated agencies) as follows:

  • National Security and Homeland Security Interests in the Arctic (Depts of State, Defense, and Homeland Security),
  • International Governance (State),
  • Extended Continental Shelf and Boundary Issues (State),
  • Promoting International Scientific Cooperation (State, Interior, Commerce, and NSF),
  • Maritime Transportation in the Arctic Region (State, DoD, Transportation, Commerce, and DHS),
  • Economic Issues, Including Energy (State, Interior, Commerce, and Energy), and
  • Environmental Protection and Conservation of Natural Resources (State, Interior, Commerce, DHS, and EPA).

Each of these 7 policy areas includes both statements about policy and specific implementation directives.  Although only a handful of the implementation directives directly address national security and homeland security, several of the other directives have some dual-use, with some application to homeland security and defense, even though that’s not the primary stated purpose.

There is a single paragraph at the end discussing the need for additional resources to achieve the implementation directives. However, it’s not specific about funding sources, instead simply stating that “The heads of executive departments and agencies with responsibilities relating to the Arctic region shall work to identify future budget, administrative, personnel, or legislative proposal requirements to implement the elements of this directive.”

In terms of DHS, the Coast Guard is likely to be most impacted by this directive, so it’s likely that the Coast Guard will request more funds for operations in the Arctic region in coming years.  Whether they get them is far too early to tell.

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