I'm glad Admiral Gortney is puzzled by his Arctic responsibilities:
The next one after that is the Arctic; assigned a responsibility as the advocate of the Arctic, which is kind of hard doctrinally. We don't have a term. We don't really understand what "advocate" means. It has no -- I can't mandate anybody to purchase or train to capability, but we are the advocate for DOD for all of the agencies in the services, and we're studying that real hard. And we'll be reporting that out this spring.
Rather than a Polar Advocate, we need a Polar Command, I think. And that is true regardless of whether the Arctic ice melts or not.
UPDATE: He has a point about our lack of capabilities in the Arctic:
China is conducting Arctic research in an area considered the extended undersea shelf of the United States, while Russia is able to move across the frozen regions in 27 icebreakers.
Meanwhile, Adm. Paul F. Zukunft, commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, said the United States is practically a bystander in the region.
“We sit here on the sidelines as the only nation that has not ratified the Law of the Sea Convention,” Zukunft told a gathering Tuesday at the Navy League’s annual Sea Air Space exposition and conference at National Harbor, Maryland. “Our nation has two ocean-going icebreakers … We’re the most prosperous nation on Earth. Our GDP is eight times that of Russia. Russia has 27 ocean-going icebreakers.”
But he's spouting BS about the Law of the Sea. In what magical world does ratifying that treaty provide more icebreakers for the Arctic?
Or constrain China or Russia?
China signed the treaty yet doesn't obey it. Why isn't the treaty solving the South China Sea problem when regional states are also part of the treaty?
It won't help resolve China's claims in the South China Sea or East China Sea.
Indeed, I think there is a strong argument that the Law of the Sea has made territorial disputes at sea worse by increasing the stakes for owning tiny specks of land (or creating tiny specks of land).
Military might and not this treaty will protect our access to the sea. If the other 160+ nations that signed the treaty haven't constrained China's interpretation of the treaty, why will our objections within the treaty have any more effect than our objections now?
Face it, much like a dollar and your personal charm will get you a cup of coffee, our military power and ratification of LOST will get China to stop unilaterally interpreting the treaty to benefit them.
The treaty is bad for America on a number of fronts.