GAO Report on Arctic Maritime Infrastructure

The Government Accountability Office today released a report, Arctic Maritime Infrastructure: Government-wide and Coast Guard Strategies Lack a Means to Measure Progress. The report was used as testimony before the House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation.

The report is an update to two prior reports, an April 2020 report on Arctic
maritime infrastructure and a June 2016 report on Coast Guard Arctic capabilities. The report concludes:

GAO made five recommendations in its April 2020 and June 2016 reports. Two of these recommendations have been implemented and three remain open. The open recommendations are: (1) that the Executive Office of the President develop a strategy for Arctic maritime infrastructure with goals and measures, (2) that the Coast Guard develop measures for assessing how its actions have helped to mitigate Arctic capability gaps, and (3) that the Coast Guard design and implement a system to systematically assess progress. The White House and the Coast Guard are in the process of addressing these recommendations.

The report discusses the effects of receding sea ice in prolonging the navigation season, combined with more severe weather and environmental factors and the general scarcity of maritime infrastructure in the region.