US Northern Command now has lead responsibility for overseeing US military operations in the Arctic under the new unified command plan that President Obama has just approved. UCP 2011 stresses the growing importance of the Arctic. “NORTHCOM was given advocacy responsibility for Arctic capabilities primarily due to having the only US Arctic territory within its area of operations,” said a Pentagon spokesman. US European Command and US Pacific Command shared responsibility with NORTHCOM for the region under the previous UCP that President Bush approved in December 2008. The new plan also assigns NORTHCOM responsibility for Alaska. Previously, NORTHCOM and PACOM divided responsibility for the state and its adjacent waters. Among the other changes, the role of US Strategic Command is strengthened in combating weapons of mass destruction. (AFPS report by Jim Garamone) (White House memorandum)
Top lawmakers on Capitol Hill announced Dec. 2 that they have reached a deal to extend the continuing resolution funding the government into February. Now, the House and Senate will have to scramble to pass the legislation by 11:59 p.m. Dec. 3 to avoid a temporary shutdown.