Implementation Plan for The National Strategy for the Arctic Region
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Promote International Law and Freedom of the Seas
Objective: The United States will continue to promote freedom of the seas and global mobility of maritime and aviation interests for all nations in accordance with international law. The United States will promote and conduct such activities in the Arctic region as appropriate.
Next Steps: The United States will exercise internationally recognized navigation and overflight rights, including transit passage through international straits, innocent passage through territorial seas, and the conduct of routine operations on, over, and under foreign exclusive economic zones, as reflected in the Law of the Sea Convention. Toward this end, the U.S. Government will, as appropriate:
- Conduct routine Arctic maritime exercises, operations, and transits consistent with international law.
- Inform the Arctic Council, International Maritime Organization, tribal organizations, and other interested governments of U.S. activities conducted.
- Engage the private commercial shipping and aviation sectors and involve stakeholders and experts in academia and non-governmental organizations to promote the rights and responsibilities of freedom of navigation and overflight in the Arctic region.
- Promote the global mobility of vessels and aircraft throughout the Arctic region by developing strong relationships and engaging in dialogue with international partners, especially Arctic states.
- Continue to document U.S. diplomatic communications in the Digest of U.S. Practice in International Law published by the Department of State.
- Continue to document the Department of Defense report on fiscal year freedom of navigation operations and other related activities conducted by U.S. Armed Forces
- Continue to deliver strategic communications at appropriate opportunities to reflect U.S. objections to unlawful restrictions in the Arctic on the rights, freedoms, and uses of the sea and airspace recognized under international law.
- Continue to encourage excessive maritime claims to be rescinded or otherwise reformed to comply with international law.
Measuring Progress: Progress will be measured through the continued preservation of the freedoms of navigation and overflight and other rights and uses of the seas consistent with customary international law as reflected in the Law of the Sea Convention throughout the Arctic region, including the Northwest Passage and Northern Sea Route.
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Accede to the Law of the Sea Convention
Objective: Continue to seek the Senate’s advice and consent to accede to the Law of the Sea Convention.
Next Steps: The Administration is committed, like the last three Administrations, to pursuing accession to the Convention on the Law of the Sea and will continue to place a priority on attaining Senate advice and consent to accession.
Measuring Progress: Progress will be measured by gaining Senate approval for the Law of the Sea Convention.
Lead Agency: Department of State
Supporting Agencies: Department of Commerce (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, Department of the Interior, Department of Transportation
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Delineate the Outer Limit of the U.S. Extended Continental Shelf
Objective: Develop the U.S. submission in support of delineating the outer limit of the U.S. Extended Continental Shelf in the Arctic.
Next Steps: Continue to conduct activities in support of the United States’ Extended Continental Shelf (ECS) in the Arctic, including:
- Process and interpret the seismic data, refine the base of slope, and develop a geologic framework for the U.S. ECS in the Arctic Ocean and Bering Sea through 2015.
- Complete the analyses and documentation necessary to delineate the outer limits of the U.S. ECS in the Arctic Ocean and Bering Sea through 2016.
Measuring Progress: Progress toward delineation of the outer limit of the U.S. continental shelf in the Arctic will be measured by the completion of the U.S. Extended Continental Shelf Task Force analysis, preparation of the necessary documentation, and submission of a well-supported delineation of the U.S. Extended Continental Shelf in the Arctic and elsewhere in accordance with the Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Lead Agency: Department of State
Supporting Agencies: Department of Commerce (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, Department of the Interior (United States Geological Survey)