Following the launch of a new advertising campaign by the Arctic Energy Center last week, the AEC today unveiled its latest ad, highlighting the synergies between the United States’ national security and oil and gas development in the Arctic.
The new piece features former U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff and former Alaskan Command Commander Gen. Norton A. Schwartz and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander and former Alaskan Command Commander Gen. Joseph W. Ralston and will run through November 15 in the Washington DC media market. As a result of the extended run, the total AEC advertising campaign spend will increase from a mid to a high six figure number.
This latest ad marks the growing recognition within the defense community, Congress, the White House and the U.S. Armed Forces that allowing offshore oil and gas development in the Arctic is a national security imperative that must be prioritized.
Last week at an Atlantic Council event sponsored by the Arctic Energy Center, Amy Pope, Vice Chair of the White House Arctic Executive Steering Committee and Deputy Assistant to the President in the White House National Security Council reiterated that “responsibly developing Arctic oil and gas resources aligns with United States’ ‘all-of-the-above’ approach to developing domestic energy resources … to reduce our reliance on imported oil and strengthening our nation’s energy security.”
At the same event, the State Department’s Special Representative for the Arctic and former Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Robert J. Papp, Jr., noted his support for the region’s inclusion in the Administration’s offshore leasing program, due to be announced later this year.
Other officials who served in high-ranking positions in different branches of the U.S. Armed Forces made similar remarks, acknowledging the “geostrategic importance of the Arctic and our Arctic energy resources to our national security strategy as a whole,” especially given that “national security issues are now very real and getting more serious as days and weeks and months go by, and that we seem to be falling further behind.”
And on Tuesday former U.S. Ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Robert Hunter addressed concerns about Russia’s growing military footprint in the Arctic – in the form of a new strategic command, bases and deployment of advanced aircraft and missile defenses – and Moscow’s desire to “turn the Northern Passage into a turnpike for energy.”
Concerns like this are why Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, introduced a resolution earlier this summer that urged the inclusion of the Arctic in the Interior Department’s forthcoming oil and gas leasing program:
“Canceling the Arctic lease sales would be a self-defeating action that would not have the slightest effect on global warming—it would merely surrender the development of Arctic energy to rival nations like Russia.”
In addition, a group of former military leaders, including former Defense Secretary William Cohen, submitted formal comments to the Interior Department urging for the inclusion of the Arctic in the leasing program to benefit White House, Defense Department and Coast Guard strategies for the Arctic:
“The White House, Defense Department and Coast Guard strategies for the Arctic depend on government and private sector cooperation, including private investments in Arctic infrastructure to provide presence and to share costs, resources and expertise. Excluding the Arctic from the Program would signal retreat, needlessly reducing U.S. flexibility for promoting our national interests and our ability to ensure international cooperation, including ensuring best practices in Arctic drilling, in this sensitive and increasingly strategic region.”
The ad launched today captures the widespread acknowledgment by officials and leaders familiar with the Arctic that Arctic oil and gas development could be a concrete and effective solution to the challenges the U.S. faces in the region – now and for the decades to come.