The Foreign Service Journal, May 2021

30 MAY 2021 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL FOCUS ON ARCTIC DIPLOMACY The Arctic is a place of cross-cutting interests—security, science and economic development, among others—and the different pieces need to fit together. James P. DeHart, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service with the rank of Minister Counselor, is the U.S. coordinator for the Arctic region at the State Department. He served previously as senior adviser for security negotiations and agreements, assistant chief of mission in Kabul and deputy chief of mission in Oslo, among many other assignments. He is a former chair of the FSJ Editorial Board. FSJ Editor Shawn Dorman interviewed him in March. ABalanced Approach to theArctic A CONVERSATION WITH U.S. COORDINATOR FOR THE ARCTIC REGION JAMES P. DEHART Shawn Dorman: What is the role of the U.S. coordinator for the Arctic region? When and why was the position created? JimDeHart: The previous administration created the position last July and asked me to fill it. The logic of having a coordinator was to ensure we were taking a balanced approach to the Arctic region, giving attention to the full range of U.S. interests there— security, scientific research, Coast Guard cooperation, economic development and so on—and integrating these interests into a coherent approach. This is even more important because the Arctic is changing rapidly due to climate change and becoming more accessible to all sorts of new activities. SD: What are the major U.S. priorities in the Arctic? JDH: Fundamentally, we want to make sure the region remains peaceful, free of conflict without any threats to our homeland, and a place where international cooperation prevails. We want residents of the Arctic, including Indigenous com- munities in our own state of Alaska, to prosper. And now, with the new administration, we have a major focus on tackling the climate change crisis, a global effort in which the Arctic is a criti- cal domain because it’s warming much faster than the rest of the planet. Our renewed focus on climate is very much welcomed by our allies and partners in the Arctic region, with whom we work very closely.