You’ve heard about Alaska’s Gold Rush, but what about Alaska’s “Blue Rush?” I used this term during a panel I was on last week at MTS/IEEE’s OCEANS ‘17, which brought together hundreds of attendees from ocean technology industries, academic institutions, and government agencies focused around ocean science and technology. As I’ve written of before, I believe Alaska’s future is closely tied to the evolution of its maritime economy, and this impressive conference highlighted that in myriad ways. Excellent presentations, displays, and discussions confirmed the amazing opportunities that are unfolding for ocean scientific and technical advances to revolutionize our understanding of the ocean – from its (well mapped by 2030) bottom to its close connection with our atmosphere and weather.
Many members of our consortium had leading roles at OCEANS ‘17, and we are certainly leading efforts around the world to ensure our ocean’s sustainability and security as it enables an equally sustainable and secure human population. As our largest coastal state, Alaska exemplifies this more than anywhere else. I’m encouraged to see Alaskans’ readiness to embrace the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead as the state’s maritime frontier changes in concert with the Arctic and northern Pacific Ocean. You can read more on this in an op-ed Donna Kocak, president of MTS, and I wrote.
As we look at the growing maritime industry around the world and along coastlines, I suggest we watch and support Alaska’s “Blue Rush” as the state redefines sustainable resource use and living with a changing ocean.
RADM Jonathan W. White, USN (ret.)
President and CEO
Consortium for Ocean Leadership