- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday announced the appointment of Jim DeHart to be the next U.S. coordinator for the Arctic region.

In a statement, Mr. Pompeo explained that Mr. DeHart will serve as the principal adviser on all Arctic matters and will coordinate the department’s policy-making and diplomatic engagement on Arctic-related issues.

The administration over the past three years has overhauled the U.S. approach to the Arctic amid rising Russian and Chinese ambitions. The White House recently announced plans to open a consulate in Greenland for the first time in decades and to fast-track plans for new icebreaker ships capable of operating in frigid Arctic waters.

Mr. DeHart most recently served as a senior adviser for security negotiations and agreements and was involved in negotiations of forces, defense cooperation and burden-sharing agreements. He has also served as deputy chief of mission in Oslo, Norway.

Along with the White House and Pentagon, the State Department has launched a concerted effort to push back against that Russian expansionism. In a clear signal to Moscow last month, U.S. Navy ships sailed through the Barents Sea for the first time since the Cold War.

President Trump this month also ordered the Pentagon to build a new icebreaker fleet by the end of the decade to compete with the dozens of Russian ships capable of operating on Arctic waters. The U.S. has just two icebreakers.

Mr. Pompeo also recently announced the reopening of the U.S. consulate in Nuuk, Greenland, which came on the heels of the administration’s $12.1 million economic aid package to the country.

“The United States plays a critical leadership role on Arctic issues within the international community and remains committed to ensuring a peaceful region where U.S. interests are safeguarded, the U.S. homeland is protected, and Arctic States work cooperatively to address shared challenges,” Mr. Pompeo said in the statement.

He said that Mr. DeHart’s appointment “reaffirms the commitment of the United States to that mission.”

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