The vast Arctic Ocean encompasses some 5,427,000 square miles, with 28,200 miles of coastline fringing the landmasses of Eurasia, Greenland, North America, and several islands. Under
international law, no one country owns the North Pole or the surrounding ocean. Bordering this expanse, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia, and the United States are limited each to a 200-mile economic zone along their respective coasts.
But with the prospect of increased domestic oil production and a shorter sea route for commerce, the United States has turned its eye north again—and so has its Navy. Vigilant to emerging possibilities, the Navy released its new "Arctic roadmap" in late 2009. With any acceleration of American initiatives in the Arctic realm, an expansion of responsibilities can be expected for the Navy.