‘Rules of engagement’ with polar bears needed, says Naval War College professor

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A retired Navy officer and a professor of war games at the U.S. Naval War College has found a gap in national security preparedness: rules of engagement with polar bears.

“It’s something the Navy doesn’t think about or plan for or prepare for, because there hasn’t been a demand for it,” Walter Berbrick, an assistant professor in the institution’s War Gaming Department, toldNewsweek.


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There are roughly 25,000 polar bears populating the Arctic Circle.

“You’ve really got to be mindful of where you’re at and where they’re at,” Mr. Berbrick told the magazine. “Folks need to be trained and deployed understanding their interaction with polar bears. The Navy needs some kind of specialized force protection training, policies, rules of engagement.”

Mr. Berbrick came to the conclusion about “specialized force protection” for polar bears while conducting oil-spill simulations with the Navy in 2011, Newsweek reported.

The Navy released the U.S. Navy Arctic Roadmap for 2014 to 2030, which provides a blueprint for how to prepare for the region — including cold-weather training exercises — but does not mention polar bears, Newsweek reported.

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