A new plan released by the Department of Defense says the Arctic region is becoming more traveled because of diminishing sea ice.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel wrote in the plan that the Arctic Strategy that the DOD has acknowledged that climate change is affecting travel in the Arctic region.
The plan says receding ice enables increased human access to the region and that means increased security measures will have to take place to continue the area's peaceful atmosphere.
Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) says it's an issue that he's discussed for years and he is happy the DOD is recognizing that the area needs protection.
"As we continue to grow our oil and gas development in the Arctic, you can only imagine the resource value there in making sure it's secure along with all this traffic through there and the ships, so I think they have finally recognized this is an important area to focus on now," Begich said.
Begich says his main concern is about whether the DOD will allocate enough resources to the Arctic.
"The plan is good, the next step is what do we gotta do to put resources to make sure the DOD recognizes its value in the partnership with the Coast Guard and other facilities up there," Begich said.
"I have often said that one of the key aspects of the Arctic that made it unique in the world is that it's a region of peace,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) said in a written statement. “Peace needs to be kept, though, and not presumed, and the Pentagon's focus is necessary to maintain it; Icebreakers, development, economic opportunity, stewardship and defense are all parts of the path forward."
Sen. Begich says he has an amendment pending to the Defense Authorization asking for four more ice breakers for the Coast Guard.
Murkowski says she co-sponsored a bipartisan icebreaker bill with other northern pacific senators to help the U.S. Navy.