"The diminishment of Arctic sea ice has led to increased human activities in the Arctic, and has heightened interest in, and concerns about, the region's future. The United States, by virtue of Alaska, is an Arctic country and has substantial interests in the region. On January 21, 2015, President Obama issued an executive order for enhancing coordination of national efforts in the Arctic. The United States will assume the chairmanship of the Arctic Council in April 2015 and will serve in that capacity for two years. […] Issues such as Arctic sovereignty claims; commercial shipping through the Arctic; Arctic oil, gas, and mineral exploration; endangered Arctic species; and increased military operations in the Arctic could cause the region in coming years to become an arena of international cooperation or competition. The United States, by virtue of Alaska, is an Arctic country and has substantial political, economic, energy, environmental, and other interests in the region. Decisions that Congress, the executive branch, foreign governments, international organizations, and commercial firms make on Arctic-related issues could significantly affect these interests. This report provides an overview of Arctic-related issues for Congress, and refers readers to more in-depth CRS reports on specific Arctic-related issues."
CRS Report for Congress, R41153
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html