The Arctic natural reserves amount to nearly one-quarter of the world's undiscovered oil and gas resources. It is expected that the US will extract almost 27 billion barrels of oil and 132 trillion cubic feet of natural gas from the Arctic shelf.
"What's not promising is that several of our greatest economic rivals like Russia and China are already in position to intercept these much-needed resources by exploiting new shipping lanes that have opened up – and will continue to open up – because of melting sea ice," the colonel stressed.
The Arctic has already become a geopolitical hotbed the expert underscored, referring to the latest report released by the National Petroleum Council (NPC). NPC experts are urging the federal government focus on exploration in the offshore Alaskan Arctic in their recently released report.
They pointed to the fact that Russia is increasing its exploration activity in the Arctic region, at the same time expanding its naval and transportation fleet. And it is most likely that Russia will maintain its position as a "dominant player" in Arctic energy development in forthcoming years, the NPC report stated.
Meanwhile, despite its lack of Arctic territory, Beijing has jumped at the chance to invest more in Arctic exploration, infrastructural projects, and energy development.
"China should certainly not be taken lightly. That goes double – maybe triple – for Russia," the colonel stressed.
According to Colonel Hunt, the Obama administration should "thwart" Russia's advance in this increasingly important geopolitical region, using the US' chairmanship of the international Arctic Council and hastening exploration of America's offshore territories, in particular, Alaska's Chukchi Sea.