IARPC Releases Biennial Report 2016-2017

March 28, 2018
By Jessica Rohde

IARPC has released biennial report 2016-2017. IARPC submits this report to Congress through the Executive Office of the President. It contains a statement of activities and accomplishments of the IARPC during 2016-2017. Download the report here and read the introduction below. 

Introduction

The United States of America has been an Arctic state since 1867, when Alaska was purchased from the Russian Empire. The importance of Alaska and the Arctic to the nation was not fully appreciated until the advent of the Cold War in the late 1940s and, later, the discovery in the late 1960s of the “super giant” oilfield (greater than five billion barrels of recoverable oil) at Prudhoe Bay on Alaska’s northernmost coast facing the Arctic Ocean. Since then, Prudhoe Bay and nearby oilfields have continued to contribute significantly to the Alaskan and national economy. Continued national attention on Alaska and the Arctic materialized in response to environmental change. These changes are exemplified by the diminishing sea ice cover during the summer, which has significant implications for the people of Alaska, in particular Alaska Natives, as well as for national and homeland security as maritime transportation, natural resource development, and tourism, including cruise ship operations, are projected to increase.

Recognizing the growing importance of Alaska and the Arctic to the nation, and the need for research to increase scientific knowledge and understanding to inform decisions and policy, Congress passed the Arctic Research and Policy Act of 1984. It established the U.S. Arctic Research Commission (USARC) “to promote Arctic research and to recommend Arctic research policy” and the Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee (IARPC) to “develop a national Arctic research policy and a five year plan to implement that policy.” The Act also requires IARPC to submit to Congress through the Executive Office of the President a biennial report containing a statement of activities and accomplishments of the IARPC, and a statement “detailing with particularity the recommendations of the Commission with respect to Federal interagency activities in Arctic research and the disposition and responses to those recommendations.” This biennial report addresses this requirement for the period 2016-2017, which includes the final year of the implementation of the Arctic Research Plan 2013-2017 and the first year of the implementation of the Arctic Research Plan 2017-2021. 

The report begins with an overview of how the Arctic Research Plan 2017-2021 supports the Administration’s FY2019 research and development budget (R&D) priorities, followed by select highlights of IARPC accomplishments during the period 2016-2017. The report continues with brief descriptions of the Arctic Research Plan 2013-2017 and the Arctic Research Plan 2017-2021, and concludes with a summary of how the Arctic Research Plan 2017-2021 responds to the most recent (2015- 2016) recommendations of the USARC.

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