The Pentagon is planning Search and Rescue Mission “Games” in the Arctic with 7 other nations because of the changing nature of the Arctic. There will be more shipping and flights in that area and thus there will need to be help in saving people who are at risk in this largely unpopulated and empty area.
I’m just finding it strange that we can sink so much money into helping with resources and funding in an area that has no one in it, and yet, when we need aid from the military in our own country we can’t get it because of rules that make it impossible for the military to act within our own borders unless they have been requested to do so and unless they’ll be paid for doing so.
So it’s okay to work for civilian groups as long as they are foreign? Check out bits of this story from Defense Weekly-
“The extreme distances, limited infrastructure, and paucity of assets will make a timely SAR response challenging in the best of conditions,” a May 2011 DoD Arctic report states.
“As human activity increases in the region, this gap is expected to increase. SAR, however, is not a force sizing or shaping mission for DoD; the Department contributes assets when needed and as available.”
In May, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and representatives from Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia and Sweden signed the Agreement on Cooperation on Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue in the Arctic.
The agreement is designed to coordinate “life-saving international maritime and aeronautical SAR coverage and response among the Arctic States across an area of about 13 million square miles,” according to a State Department fact sheet.
While the agreement was signed in May, it will not be enforced several more months, according to Balton, who spoke at a June 29 presentation at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
“There are envisioned search-and-rescue exercises to begin to work on implementation of the agreement,” Amanda Dory, deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy, said during the same event.
While the multinational SAR agreement facilitates communication and cooperation, it does not translate into more assets and resources for the critical mission, Balton said.
“I am hoping each of the eight governments, including the United States, can use it to that effect,” he said.