The US Navy worries that reduced ice in the arctic will increase its responsibilities for maritime patrols in that area.
Climate change and reduced sea ice cover may result in opening up the Arctic to vastly increased resource development and commercial traffic. These trends will inevitably spark international conflicts and create a need for more military forces to provide security and protect interests in the Arctic region. This is bad news for the U.S. Navy, already hard-pressed by shrinking fleets and rising challenges elsewhere.Resource development in the Arctic will certainly be a problem. Especially if there are conflicts between Russia and the USA or Russia and Canada. However the worries about the Russians may be overblown because the Russian Fleet is in serious decline. And fears of loss of Arctic Sea ice may also be overblown. Because the extent of Arctic Sea Ice appears to be rebounding unusually early compared to 2007 and 2008. Of course that is weather and not climate. But the Climate experts at the IPCC expect a cooling trend until at least 2020. So the Navy may have a bit of time to get its act together.
Rear Adm. David Titley, the U.S. Navy's top oceanographer, was recently in Barrow, Alaska supervising a global warming research expedition. According to Titley, changes in Arctic sea ice cover will require a new assessment of the Navy's maritime strategy. Such an assessment will likely recommend changes to military infrastructure in the Arctic, military force structure deployed to the Arctic, and new capabilities to respond to a changing Arctic climate.