U.S. Arctic Marine Transportation Integrated Action Team

"In the past, the Arctic was largely inaccessible, but increased seasonal melting of the sea ice is opening the region and creating opportunities for oil and gas exploration, maritime shipping, commercial fishing and tourism. We are confronted by a new ocean for the first time in 500 years." Rear Admiral David Titley, U.S. Navy Director of Climate Change Task Force
Arctic marine transportation
The U.S. geographic area in the Arctic consists of all U.S. territory north of the Arctic Circle and all U.S. territory north and west of the boundary formed by the Porcupine, Yukon, and Kuskokwim Rivers; all contiguous seas including the Arctic Ocean and the Beaufort, Bering, Chukchi Seas and the Aleutian Island chain, as defined in § 112 of the Arctic Research and Policy Act of 1984 (ARPA). Source: U.S. Arctic Research Commission

Purpose

The CMTS, through the work of the integrated action team (IAT), has responded to the call of Congress and the White House to coordinate domestic transportation policies and determine what is needed to improve the U.S. Arctic marine transportation system (MTS). Through its recommendations and member agency actions, maritime transportation in the U.S. Arctic will be better managed and made more safe and secure, resulting in more efficient transits, greater protection of Arctic coastal and ocean resources, maintenance of subsistence uses by native communities, and less risk to loss of cargo and life.

Value

Warming conditions and reduction in the extent of sea ice cover in the Arctic are creating new opportunities and challenges in the U.S. Arctic region with respect to marine transportation. Ensuring a safe and efficient U.S. MTS in the Arctic is essential to meeting the nation's environmental, economic development and national security objectives.

Integrated Action Team Leads

  • U.S. Coast Guard
  • U.S. Maritime Administration
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Participating Agencies

  • Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
  • Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement
  • Environmental Protection Administration
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • Oceanographer of the Navy
  • National Maritime Intelligence-Integration Office
  • Office of Science and Technology Policy
  • Office of the Secretary of Transportation
  • U.S. Arctic Research Commission
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • U.S. Coast Guard
  • U.S. Department of State
  • U.S. Maritime Administration
  • U.S. Transportation Command

Areas of Focus

  • Navigable Waterways
  • Physical and Information Infrastructure
  • Vessel Operations and Response Services
  • The Human Element and U.S. Arctic Communities

Activity and Milestones

  • Revisiting Near-Term Recommendations to Prioritize Infrastructure Needs in the U.S. Arctic

  • A 10-Year Prioritization Framework

    • Accomplished: The second milestone of the National Strategy for the Arctic Region (NSAR) Implementation Plan was completed in May 2016.
    • Completed: The Ten-Year Prioritization of Infrastructure Needs in the U.S. Arctic report completed an assigned action under the National Strategy for the Arctic Region (NSAR) Implementation Plan. This report presents a framework to address Arctic infrastructure gaps. It identifies critical requirements for a safe and secure U.S. Arctic Marine Transportation System (MTS) to be implemented over the next decade. This report was signed by the Secretary of Transportation and transmitted to the White House in May 2016.
    • Assigned: Develop by January 2016 recommendations for pursuing Federal public-private partnerships (P3) in support of the needs assessment and prioritized activities. The Arctic IAT will draw on P3 work developed by the MTS Infrastructure Investment IAT, including the compendium of Federal P3 authorities. This report has been framed.
    • Accomplished: The third and final milestone of the NSAR Implementation Plan was completed in January 2017.
    • Completed: The report, Recommendations and Criteria for Using Federal Public-Private Partnerships to Support Critical U.S. Arctic Maritime Infrastructure, completes the final assigned action under the NSAR Implementation Plan. This report puts forward 19 recommendations for the implementation of public-private partnerships (P3s) in developing, improving, and maintaining infrastructure in support of Federal maritime activities, national security, navigation safety, and stewardship of natural resources in the U.S. Arctic. The report was signed by the Secretary of Transportation and transmitted to the White House in January 2017.
  • U.S. Arctic Ten-Year Vessel Projection Report to the National Security Council

    Arctic vessel density
    This report provides estimates on vessel traffic in the U.S. Arctic (numbers of vessels and transits) based on modeling of current baseline traffic data and growth potential as defined by various progression scenarios. It is the first step toward developing a framework to guide Federal activities related to the construction, maintenance, and improvement of ports and other infrastructure needed to preserve the mobility and safe navigation of U.S. military and civilian vessels throughout the Arctic region.
    • Assigned: CMTS was directed by Transportation Secretary and CMTS Chair Anthony Foxx to lead the development of the progression of vessel activity in the U.S. Arctic.
    • Conducted: A webinar was sponsored by the CMTS for Arctic interests to obtain views on progression scenarios.
    • Accomplished: The first milestone of the National Strategy for the Arctic Region (NSAR) Implementation Plan was completed on January 1, 2015.
    • Completed: Submitted to the National Security Council on January 16, 2015, the 10-year Projection Study of Maritime Activity in the U.S. Arctic completed an assigned action under the National Strategy for the Arctic Region (NSAR) Implementation Plan. This report provides estimates on vessel traffic in the U.S. Arctic (numbers of vessels and transits) based on modeling of current baseline traffic data and growth potential as defined by various progression scenarios. It is the first step toward developing a framework to guide Federal activities related to the construction, maintenance, and improvement of ports and other infrastructure needed to preserve the mobility and safe navigation of U.S. military and civilian vessels throughout the U.S. Arctic region.
  • Report to the President, U.S. Arctic Marine Transportation System: Overview and Priorities for Action 2013

    • Completed: The Arctic IAT completed an inventory of Federal activities related to marine transportation in the U.S. Arctic region. From this inventory, a framework for a U.S. Arctic MTS was developed.
    • Completed: A gap analysis, which compares the U.S. Arctic MTS framework and its elements against current and planned Federal Arctic marine transportation activities, was completed.
    • Completed: A peer review of the draft report, leading to the development of issue papers for each of the 16 U.S. Arctic MTS elements, was completed.
    • Completed: A 45-day public comment period on the draft report was completed on April 22, 2013. Two moderated conference calls with general stakeholders and Alaskan Tribes were held during the public comment period.
    • Completed: A second CMTS interagency review was completed to develop a final draft U.S. Arctic Marine Transportation Report for consideration by the CMTS Coordinating Board in June, 2013.
    • Completed: CMTS Chair and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx approved the completed CMTS U.S. Arctic MTS Report and, on July 30, 2013, transmitted the report to President Obama for his consideration.

Reports and Resources