It was quite an eventful weekend in D.C. as hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets and the National Mall to express their opinions in a predominantly peaceful and productive manner (unfortunately, we did lose a few windows in the first floor of our building, as we were very close to “ground zero” for the small group of violent anarchists on Friday). As roadblocks and security measures were lifted on Saturday morning and the streets filled with colorfully clad marchers, one important event took place that you did not read about in the news — the 115th Congress’ House Oceans Caucus and Senate Oceans Caucus joint kick-off luncheon. I was honored to participate and represent all of COL’s members, and I salute our partners at the Ocean Caucus Foundation for bringing this together.
Congressional caucuses are a way for like-minded members to pursue legislative objectives. I am grateful for the bipartisan work of these two groups and for the dedication of their members on issues we all know are important. On the House side, the Oceans Caucus will be led once again by Representative Don Young (AK), who will be joined by a new co-chair – Representative Suzanne Bonamici (OR), who is replacing Representative Sam Farr (CA), a true ocean champion who retired at the end of last Congress after more than 22 years of service. The Senate Oceans Caucus will be chaired again by Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (RI), Lisa Murkowski (AK), Cory Booker (NJ), and Roger Wicker (MS).
At the luncheon, where we were joined by several international representatives with a shared determination to proactively address key issues, we discussed many ocean health and security topics that align with our priorities at COL. I look forward to continuing to work with the caucuses as we bring the world’s best ocean science and technology to bear on important policy decisions that lie ahead for the new administration and Congress. As I walked away from the event and melded briefly into the hundreds of thousands of people committed to expressing their views on issues related to our nation’s future, I felt inspired and energized. I know that if we can harness the energy and commitment of people passionate about our ocean, we will ensure its bright future. And that must be our calling, for all members of our Consortium, in the days ahead.
Speaking of days ahead, it’s never too early to save the date for COL’s annual public policy forum. Pencil us in for March 8, 2017, and plan to join us for Feeding the Future: An Ocean of Opportunity.
RADM Jonathan W. White, USN (ret.); M.S.
President and CEO
Consortium for Ocean Leadership
A New Tsunami-Warning System: Scientists Devise way To Relay Sound Signals Under Water
After successfully testing a long-range underwater communications system that worked under Arctic Ocean ice, an engineering team at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) adapted it for a very different environment—the tropics—and for a different purpose—to provide warnings of impending tsunamis. While the Arctic sound-signaling system lets researchers communicate with robotic vehicles operating beneath sea ice, the tropical system, tested in 2016 off Indonesia, is designed to relay signals “from an undersea sensor network to shore, where they can be used to estimate the level of the potential tsunami,” said Lee Freitag, the WHOI engineer who led the project.