sible, for U.S. forces to develop these new arrangements and agreements if the United States fails to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). As discussed elsewhere, U.S. naval leadership should support ratification of UNCLOS.
FINDING 4.2: Although the likelihood of conflict in the Arctic is low, it cannot be ruled out, and competition in the region is a given. However, cooperation in the region should not be considered a given, even with close allies. Although there are mechanisms for bilateral and multilateral cooperation in the area, including the Arctic Council, these relationships and mechanisms are largely untested for emerging conditions. Additionally, with the ratification of UNCLOS, U.S. naval forces will be better positioned to conduct future naval operations and protect national security interests, especially in the Arctic.
RECOMMENDATION 4.2: The Chief of Naval Operations, working with the combatant commanders, the Commandant of the Coast Guard, and the Commandant of the Marine Corps, should build maritime partnerships in the Arctic region and encourage the United States to continue to identify and adopt policies and relationships in the Arctic that will build cooperation for new circumstances and minimize the risks of confrontation. (For example, naval leaders should pursue bilateral and multilateral training and exercising of U.S. naval personnel with partner nation personnel in maritime security, search and rescue, and HA/DR, and continue strong support of the U.S. efforts in the Arctic Council.) There should be no assumption that the geostrategic situation will take care of itself or that U.S. interests in the region are currently protected and promoted.