By Ben Geman - 05/22/13 08:17 PM EDT
The comments arrive amid recent White House and State Department focus on the Arctic region.
The melting of Arctic sea ice is opening opportunities for energy development and shipping. But it’s also raising the prospect of ecological damage and new geopolitical competition as nations compete for access.
Biden said the Coast Guard will have a big role to play in the Arctic region.
“[A]s officers, you will operate Coast Guard icebreakers that allow ships to navigate waters that would otherwise be un-passable — from the Great Lakes and the Northeast to new passages in the Arctic. And that’s why, today, you are preparing for an Arctic future that includes colder, more remote, more complicated operations than routinely have ever been engaged in before by the Coast Guard,” he said.